Too often patients despair when their physician presents a clinical trial as a treatment option. They worry they’re out of other options, or that they’ll be treated like a guinea pig in a lab. But the reality is that both patients and doctors need clinical trials in order to provide the best treatment options both today and tomorrow.
When clinical studies are approached as a partnership, physicians, support staff, and patients engage in active, ongoing, and respectful dialog. This dialog is critical to the success of clinical trials. When patients are better informed, they can feel more confident making medical decisions for themselves, in consultation with their doctor. When patients feel empowered to participate in clinical studies, recruitment moves faster, adherence is increased, and patients do better.
While the interaction between patients and their providers in the office is critical to this mutual respect, recorded video offers a medium that can help augment that relationship, providing patients with a better understanding the study, a connection to other patients, and a library of content to help them live well while participating in the trial.
Previously the domain of AV specialists, video is now easier to create, publish, search, share, and secure than ever before, allowing research teams to employ this high-touch medium to better inform, engage, and reassure their patients.
In the 1936 business classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie recommended that, in order to win people to a way of thinking, one must appeal to the prospect’s higher ideals. While patients might consider a study treatment only when the standard of care has a small chance of working, their participation makes a critical difference. Clinical trials exist in part to provide patients with a wider array of treatment options, but also to move medicine forward for all humankind.
Whether it’s a Phase II approval trial of a promising new immunotherapy in oncology, or a long-term study of an implanted medical device to be monitored over decades, recording a video explaining the study and how it fits into a larger research landscape, is a great way to not only help patients understand what is being studied, but why it matters. For large multi-center trials, where the patient may never meet the principal investigator, video offers patients a view into the larger study, able to see the faces and hear the voices of the individuals who are designing the trial.
Producing educational content for patients can be a tall order, especially when a therapy is new and the results are far from guaranteed. While physician-investigators tend to have longer office visits and work more closely with patients to explain the treatment strategy and answer questions, the process of being a patient facing complex medical decisions can be exhausting. Returning home to read a binder of information — much of which contains frightening disclaimers — can add to the burden.
With recorded video, doctors can give patients and their loved ones as much or as little information as they need, in a way that respects their cognitive and emotional loads.
While some patients will seek as much information as they can find about the study, others will take a back seat, preferring to let their physician make the call. With recorded video, there’s no need to guess at an individual patient’s desired level of engagement with the science. In a library of content, patients can explore at their leisure and review those parts that are pertinent or interesting to them.
Furthermore, even in the best circumstances, the human brain is extremely limited in its ability to retain information. That challenge is even greater for patients experiencing fatigue or are impaired by toxicity from chemo or radiation therapy. With on-demand video, patients can watch part or all of the video content at their convenience, and repeat the videos as many times as necessary. And with comprehensive video search functionality, patients don’t even need to remember where or are in which video the content they need is located — a quick keyword entry is all that’s required in order to be taken to the relevant point in the timeline.
For some patients, having access to the most authoritative members of the research team is important, but having the voice of the local investigator can make it a more personal experience. In the past, recording video meant hiring a professional videographer, producer, and editor, something that might be out of reach for an individual physician. Today, however, simple webcam and software-based recording mean that anyone, even a doctor pressed for time, can quickly and conveniently record video from their office or home. In the world of clinical trials, patients and their loved ones want authoritative information and a connection to their doctor — Hollywood production values simply aren’t essential.
Beyond the advice of their medical providers, patients seek guidance from others in a similar situation. Every patient’s medical situation is unique, even when they share a diagnosis or candidacy for a trial, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t extraordinary value for patients to connect with one another.
For both study recruitment, and ensuring patients keep on trial, recording video blogs, interviews, and short vignettes with more seasoned patients on the trial can help comfort and inform those just coming on board. For those patients who are asked to share their stories with others, the invitation to help may make them feel more valued as an individual. Of course, trial coordinators and medical professionals can edit these segments to cut any content that might be dangerous or fall outside the bounds of regulatory compliance.
It’s no secret: clinical trials are expensive. There are heavy costs associated not only with the development and delivery of treatment, but with retaining participants as well. Patients leave trials, or stop adhering to treatment, for any number of reasons. By instilling confidence in patients and providing them with information, many of these trial dropouts can be prevented.
With video that can be quickly recorded and shared through a video content management system, doctors, trial coordinators, and patient ambassadors can respond to patients’ concerns and frequently asked questions. From coping with side effects, to finding emotional support, to knowing when to alter the treatment regimen, patients who understand that they have an active role to play in their treatment are more likely to complete the trial per design.
By building a library of this “soft content” on video, the research team can demonstrate their commitment to patients as individuals while unblocking patient concerns that stand in the way of trial completion.
The clinical trial is just one part of a patient’s overall treatment journey. Many patients continue working with their general practitioner and a host of support staff, from social workers to financial navigators. Others seek out community and help from established support and advocacy groups. All of these individuals, departments, and organizations have a role to play in assisting patients through the clinical study and beyond. By giving the power to record video to all of these involved parties, coordinators can leverage the knowledge of a patient’s entire care team, not just those responsible for the study.
All too often, patients facing serious illness or injury feel isolated and powerless. Patients who participate in clinical trials may feel this emotion more strongly than others, especially if their treatment options are limited. Education is a cornerstone of helping patients regain their confidence and feel in control; to make medical decisions for themselves, in close collaboration with their doctors.
Recorded, online video offers study teams the ability to connect more closely with patients, delivering information in a way that respects their cognitive and emotional load, can inform more deeply, and reassure in a way that the printed word never could. By working with patients in this way, researchers can more effectively recruit study participants and keep them on trial, so that, together, they can move medicine forward.
Panopto is an end-to-end video content management system that empowers groups to record, edit, and share video in a secure computing environment. For patients, Panopto gives them the ability to watch content from anywhere and on any device, whether its the iPad at their hospital bedside or their computer at home.
For more about how leading healthcare providers are using Panopto to support patients, train their staff, and establish thought leadership, check out our white paper: A Premium on Expertise: How Today’s Healthcare Providers Are Using Video.