Today, platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter have a true and almost permanent place in clinical research. First for pointing out trial issues then moving rapidly to addressing barriers, educating, and engaging groups involved in clinical research. Social Media sites are all being used by clinical research companies to highlight a multitude of research obstacles. Obstacles such as the lack of patient recruiting and retention to physician education about trial options. Companies are looking for indirect or direct methods to improve accrual and marketing for their organization and getting the information to the masses.
We have moved from a static “push” of information to patients to a active “pull” of patients requesting information. Patients and advocates are often driving an otherwise reluctant health care system into communication. Online patient communities are creating new information repositories. Potential clinical trial participants are using the Twittersphere and other sources to learn about potential clinical trial options. We are seeing more organized patient-centric and patient-engaged forums with the potential to improve clinical trial accrual and design. This is an evolving process that will meet many individual, institutional and regulatory obstacles as we move forward in a changed research landscape.