Many people would participate in a clinical trial but don’t understand what it involves or have misconceptions, so they don’t. To address this issue, Sanofi R&D created a patient-friendly educational website that explains what clinical trials are all about: the Clinical Study Guide (www.GuideToClinicalTrials.com). Clinical Sciences & Operation’s Lionel Bascles and Kristin Schuhwerk led the development of the guide with a core team that included Victoria Dibiaso, Patricia Roselle, Craig Anderson and Christina Koutoudis. We asked the team about the Clinical Study Guide and the value it can bring to patients in this Q&A.
Q1. What was your goal in creating this website?
A. We wanted to raise awareness and educate the public about clinical trials in a way they could understand, while providing them with a sense of empowerment for their health care options.
Q2. What gaps in information were you trying to address?
A. One of the biggest challenges of recruiting patients for clinical trials is patient awareness. In fact, while the majority of people believe clinical research is very important, less than half feel that they understand the process very well. Once they are aware, we then have to overcome the myths associated with clinical trials that may impact their decision to participate. In addition, it is becoming increasingly important to let patients know clinical trials can be a viable alternative among their treatment options. Patients can then take a more proactive and deliberate stance when talking with their physicians.
Q3. How does the website address these gaps?
A. In everyday language, the Clinical Study Guide walks people through the journey of a clinical trial. It provides information on why clinical trials are important, what the process is like, and addresses common myths by providing patients with the facts so they can make informed decisions.
Q4. Who is the intended audience for the website?
A. Right now, the website is for U.S. residents only. In addition to individuals discovering the site on their own on their computers or smartphones, we’re hoping our clinical investigators and patient advocacy groups will share this site with patients. Our clinical trial teams are encouraged to leverage the website to increase patient literacy as part of our approach to patient engagement.
Q5: How does the website compliment Sanofi’s commitment to clinical trials?
A. We feel that this website compliments our commitment to patients. Participating in a clinical trial is a major, often emotional decision. We are empowering patients by educating and supporting patients on their health journey and providing answers to the important questions they may have.
Q6. What’s next for the website?
A. The next phase includes a trial-matching functionality whereby people will answer a few prompts and then be directed to the nearest clinical investigator for screening and entry consideration into one of our Sanofi clinical trials.