Patient engagement has always been a cornerstone of successful clinical trials. It's a dynamic process that begins long before the trial and continues well after its conclusion. By fostering a strong relationship between researchers and patients, patient engagement can help improve enrollment, boost retention rates, improve the accuracy of data collected, and ensure the trial's overall success. This blog outlines the importance of patient engagement, then introduces the concept of a “Virtual Waiting Room” through which clinical trial sponsors can engage patients throughout the stages and phases of a study.

Patient engagement before, during, and after a trial

Patient engagement plays a pivotal role at the start of any clinical trial. Active involvement of patients at this stage helps researchers gain valuable insights into the design and execution of the study. By incorporating the perspectives and preferences of patients, researchers can ensure that the trial's objectives align with the real-world needs of the patient population. Engaging patients before clinical trials also facilitates the identification of potential barriers to participation, thus enhancing recruitment and retention rates. By fostering open communication and collaboration, researchers can create a more patient-centric trial environment, leading to improved study outcomes and greater patient satisfaction.

With up to 40% of patients dropping out of trials, patient retention is a significant challenge in clinical research. Engaging patients during trials empowers them, making them active participants in their own healthcare journey. Engaged patients are more likely to adhere to the study protocol, follow instructions accurately, and provide timely feedback on their experiences. This involvement enhances the accuracy and reliability of data collected during the trial, contributing to the validity of the study results. Furthermore, engaging patients during clinical trials helps maintain their motivation and morale, as they feel supported and informed throughout the process. 

Even when a trial is over, the work of patient engagement is far from complete. In the post-trial phase, it becomes crucial to share the study findings with the participating patients. Engaging patients in the dissemination of results not only acknowledges their valuable contribution but also fosters transparency and builds trust. Patients gain a deeper understanding of the outcomes, potential benefits, and risks associated with the treatment, enabling them to make informed decisions about their health. Moreover, continued engagement allows researchers to collect long-term data on the treatment's effectiveness and safety, aiding in the assessment of real-world outcomes. Involving patients in the interpretation and application of trial results is a patient-centered approach that ensures treatments align with patients' needs and preferences.

A Virtual Waiting Room

With all of this in mind, Sano Genetics created a unique solution. The Virtual Waiting room creates a digital environment through which those running studies can quickly and easily provide tailored content to drive patient engagement throughout a study – including between site visits and study phases. This content includes emails, testing updates, educational courses, informational blog content, personal DNA reports, and more. And the results speak for themselves: over 80% of patients return their DNA test kits, less than 1% of patients withdraw from studies that use the Virtual Waiting Room, and 65% of study-related emails are read by Sano patients, significantly higher than the 21% industry average. Tools are also available to engage patients who are not currently eligible for a trial but may be in the future.


Patient engagement is crucial for successful clinical trials. It begins before the trial, ensuring alignment with patient needs and improving recruitment. During the trial, engaged patients contribute to accurate data collection and better outcomes. After the trial, engaging patients in result dissemination fosters transparency and empowers informed decision-making. Tools like the Virtual Waiting Room are pushing the boundaries of patient engagement, promising more efficient and effective clinical trials in the future. By embracing patient engagement throughout the trial process, researchers can enhance enrollment, retention, and overall success, ultimately advancing healthcare for the benefit of patients worldwide.


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