Can social media play a role in clinical research? If so, what sort of role could it have and are there times when caution should be exercised? Here we take a quick look at the ways in which social media can play a role and what this role should be.
Can social media have a role in clinical research?
If the question is whether social media can have a role, the answer is ‘yes’. Social media now has a role in every corner of industry, science and society. It can be used to find candidates and patients, broadcast results, gather opinions, drum up funding interest and spark general debate.
Should social media have a role in clinical research?
Whether social media should have a role is a very different question. Some would argue that it should, but that this role needs to be well thought out. Whether it should be used has two main considerations: is it a valuable tool and is it an ethical tool?
Researchers need to be aware that social media use may be at saturation levels for millennials but it is still comparatively underused by older people, typically those aged over 65. If social media is being used to recruit for a trial, it may result in a biased sample and should therefore be avoided for this purpose. Clinical trials that are looking for younger profiles can certainly use social media, however, as it is unlikely that a full profile will not be recruited within this age demographic. Social media use may be unbalanced when it comes to age but not when it comes to gender or socio-economic background.
Another valuable area may be for post-trial gratitude and updates to the results of the trial, which can help with patient retention and recommendation. In the same way, clinical trial services can use social media to engage with past patients to garner essential feedback.
For any tips, guides or assistance on Social media you could contact a Cheltenham PR company at sites like www.targetgroup.co.uk/ and they will help you on your way. The main ethical consideration is security. Social media accounts are easily hacked; therefore, given the sensitive nature of patient details, social media should not be used for communication between patients and researchers. Such communication can be easily interrupted and therefore compromised
Social media can be valuable tool when it comes to recruiting and retaining patients in trials; however, it should be used with caution.