SEO UX Key To Finding And Understanding Clinical Trials

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By Mark Mesterman, Transparency Products Lead, TrialScope

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Marketing efforts designed for clinical trial recruitment are a combination of science and art. Healthcare professionals are engaged in an increasingly competitive fight to attract and retain clinical trial participants. Their arsenal includes digital marketing strategies, such as user experience (UX), as well as traditional ones.  

On average, 20 percent of clinical trial participants are found via online recruitment strategies, according to Cutting Edge research. When patients and caregivers search online for relevant treatment information, they are often land at While the site contains detailed information about studies in the U.S., it was created with healthcare professionals in mind, not the general public. L. Steven Pashley, director of UX for Elsevier Clinical Solutions, says government sites such as and may be trying to serve multiple audiences and thus fall short for any single audience. He noted, however, that for clinical trial sites the patient should be the primary audience.

As a rule, sponsors who dedicate a website to clinical trials usually focus on patient needs. If the website is enhanced for search engine optimization (SEO), then someone searching online for trials will be directed to that site. This site is often a patient’s first impression of not only the trial but of the sponsor brand itself. Unfortunately, according to the same Cutting Edge research, sponsor trial websites tend to present noticeable UX issues for first-time visitors. These issues lead to frustration which, in turn, can result in a loss of trust in the sponsor, its trial and its products.

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