University of Oulu

The use of social media in patient recruitment for clinical trials in medical device start-up from the perspective of social media agencies and patient recruitment firms : case Synoste

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Author: Heikari, Juho-Matti1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu Business School, Department of Marketing, Marketing
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Oulu : J.-M. Heikari, 2017
Publish Date: 2017-11-29
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Juntunen, Jouni
Reviewer: Juga, Jari
Juntunen, Jouni
The aim of this research is to provide novel approach how to use social media in patient recruitment for clinical trials. This research has been commissioned by a Finland based company Synoste, and is limited to consider the patient recruitment in a medical device start-up with a very limited number of patients. To be able to produce new approach into existing literature, this study has been conducted as a qualitative case study from the perspective of social media agencies and patient recruitment firms. Understanding the factors, such as scarce information about the clinical trials, possible benefits, lack of support by patients and families as well as lack of encouragement to participate by practicing physicians all affect a decision of an individual, whether to participate into a clinical trial or not. Understanding these factors enables to analyze proper social media strategies for patient recruitment. Challenges and benefits of different social media strategies have been discussed in the theoretical part of this study also. Theoretical framework concludes previous literature about the research subject together by focusing on the different aspects of promotion, including channels, content, communication and messages. Theoretical framework created a base for a request for quotation (RFQ), which was used to collect approaches from social media agencies and patient recruitment firms. These companies were selected by searching Finland based marketing companies with a high level of competence about the use of social media. Due to the lack of actual patient recruitment firms in Finland, and to get more comprehensive approach about the overall situation, a few professional patient recruitment firms out of Finland are also included for this study. Empirical analysis follows both abductive and inductive reasoning. The participant companies suggested a wide variation of different strategies for the use of social media in patient recruitment. The right kind of content and advertising, selecting the most suitable channels to reach target group and driving traffic to trial website are important stages when planning the social media strategy for patient recruitment. The main findings of this research indicate that increasing the awareness and targeting, as well as Google advertising can be used as effective methods to recruit patients into clinical trials, when social media is not used as an only strategy for patient recruitment. Due to the fact, that the use of social media misses the establishes practices, there is not a “right way” to use social media in a patient recruitment process.
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Copyright information: © Juho-Matti Heikari, 2017. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.