Social Networking Sites are Changing the Face of Patient Recruitment for Clinical Trials

How Facebook is helping bridge the digital divide in patient recruitment

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- With its rapidly expanding capacity and diversified user base, Facebook has developed technology that helps clinical trial recruiters to precisely target populations and reaches them in a way that was never before possible.  Working closely with Facebook, MediciGlobal has been pioneering the use of this social networking site to inform people about clinical trials open for enrollment.

MediciGlobal was recently presented with the task of recruiting adolescents and their mothers for a clinical trial. The enrollment timeline for this research study was ambitious, and the date of completion set to a specific corporate milestone. The MediciGlobal team turned its attention to social networking sites such as Facebook to achieve this.

The plan to develop a Facebook advertising campaign may be surprising to some, as it is a common belief that not many parents are using Facebook.  When Facebook first gained its mass popularity, the majority of users were teens and college students using it to stay connected.  As of January 4, 2011 - 29 percent of all US Facebook users were between the ages of 35 and 54 and people aged 18-24 now account for 25.3 percent of US Facebook users. With hundreds of opportunities to connect with mothers through Facebook, MediciGlobal's eMarketing team was challenged to strategically target their advertising. They had to demonstrate that a predominantly Facebook-driven campaign would yield results for this specific study population.  

Within 6 months, the recruitment effort achieved results that far exceeded recruitment expectations, and MediciGlobal's eMarketing team proved the success of eParent recruiting.

With increasing popularity and evolving demographics, Facebook gave MediciGlobal the ability to reach mothers, eliminating the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of offline advertising.  This was reflected in cost and time savings when compared to the limitations of traditional advertising.  In statistics released by Facebook at its Summit in Ireland this month, MediciGlobal was recognized as one of Facebook's most strategic clients in Europe.

While Facebook offers the opportunity for sponsors and clinical research organizations to effectively reach patient populations and connect quality referrals to clinical research centers, not all clinical trials will benefit from the 'Facebook effect'. As  Liz Moench, President and CEO for MediciGlobal explains, "there are certain medical conditions that command anonymity, and people want to keep their medical condition private, especially when social stigma is a factor. However, when used effectively Facebook can increase the impact of recruitment campaigns and help to reduce the cost of clinical trials."  

About MediciGlobal

MediciGlobal is in the business of making a meaningful difference to patient health—by identifying and engaging patients for clinical trials, and by building deep and lasting connections with our many stakeholders. Our clinical trial recruitment practices are guided by global standards and by our concern for the lives of the patients who put their trust in us. We're also making certain that those who participate in these trials fully understand what clinical trial participation means, and that their participation is guarded by strict privacy policies.

MediciGlobal meets BBB OnLine® and WBENC accreditation standards and is certified as a Safe Harbor company. Visit and follow the company on Facebook at

About Facebook

Founded in February 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

As of January 2011, Facebook has more than 600 million active users [1], making it the second largest online community.   As of January 4, 2011 - 29 percent of all US Facebook users were between the ages of 35 and 54.  People aged 18-24 account for 25.3 percent of US Facebook users, down from the previous year's high of 40.8 percent.  

1. "Goldman to clients: Facebook has 600 million users." MSNBC. January 5, 2011. Retrieved January 15, 2011. 

SOURCE MediciGlobal