Breakthrough Patient Recruitment

: Join Us in the “Rethink Research” Challenge

Join Us in the “Rethink Research” Challenge


The current average cost of a wedding in the United States is $26,444. Beyond the expense, every year, couples invest months in meticulous planning-guest lists, table settings, floral arrangements, venues, catering, music, and countless other facets. After all of the carefully weighed decisions, intricate coordination and thoughtful details, imagine if only a few of your guests showed up. A similar experience is a daily occurrence for clinical research teams that work hard to give patients better treatment options. Advancing a new drug from theory to reality takes an average of $2.6 billion across 10+ years of precise preparation and careful progression under strict regulations. Yet the most significant delays in clinical studies are due to slow patient enrollment.

Getting patients to the research party is where our teams come in. We have more ways to engage the specific patients needed for a study than ever before, but awareness that a research program may offer a treatment option is only half the challenge. Research participation in general continues to be an unfamiliar and intimidating concept for most and is still primarily thought of as something for very sick patients. Patient advocacy groups and organizations like the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation are trying to spread the word that every new treatment, whether for acne, asthma, or arrhythmia, must be proven safe and effective through controlled clinical trials to receive regulatory approval. That means we all need someone to participate in research on our behalf. I am pleased and impressed that Bristol-Myers-Squibb's recent television advertisement for their lung cancer treatment includes a message of appreciation to the patients and physicians who participated in the research studies. We need more voices highlighting the role patients play in research.

More than two-thirds (72 percent) of Americans say they would likely participate in a study if recommended by their doctor.But, and this is a big "but," only 22 percent say a doctor or other health care professional has ever talked to them about medical research. Likewise, a majority of doctors surveyed reported that they would talk with their patients about clinical studies if they had sufficient information and believed the study was a good option.

In this age of instant information, it's hard to imagine anyone being limited by lack of access to information, especially highly trained medical staff. The problem might actually be too much information and not enough time to sort through it to make an informed recommendation. Certainly improvements can and will continue to be made in that area. In the meantime, how do we encourage doctors, patients, and caregivers to change their view of research participation from the rare exception to an option that should be routinely considered?

This question prompted Rethink Research, a friendly competition among patient recruitment firms within the clinical research industry. The goal: develop a creative campaign that will open the minds of the public about clinical research as a treatment option and bring home the importance of their participation and support.

Led by our Senior Director of Creative Services Jeanne Wagner, we developed a strategy to highlightwhyclinical research is important through the power of those everyday moments when someone we know needs a treatment option. We wanted the campaign to resonate with health care providers, as well as patients and caregivers, so we created versions that spoke to both audiences. To create and drive momentum, we needed the concept itself to be something that research sites, advocacy groups, and individuals could easily adapt themselves to help spread the message. Something engaging yet simple and easily customizable.

We boiled the issues down to this thought--you are the missing part. Yes, you dear friend, mother, wife, doctor, nurse, co-worker, hold the missing piece, the critical data points, the required support, and key messages to bring us all new treatment options. This idea became the "Missing U" concept, reinforced by shadowing the letter U in key words, creating headlines that catch the reader's attention. "What's missing?" The answer is "You."

The simplicity of these visuals met our objectives:

  • Adaptation does not require a production budget, as there are no images to find and purchase. If you can write a headline that includes the letter "U," you can create your own campaign material.
  • The concept can easily be applied to any therapeutic area or patient population.
  • The concept works across all forms of media and is therefore easily shared.

We're pleased to share that our Missing U concept won both Best Campaign and Best Copy. But the shift in thinking that is needed isn't an undertaking that can be accomplished by just one group, and it shouldn't be. Now it's your turn to help others know what a powerful difference participation in research makes.

We invite you to join in the "What's missing?" campaign by sharing the message with your network. Request the "What's missing" materials today.

Thank you for joining us in rethinking research!


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