Facebook Being Used to Recruit for Clinical Trials

February 22, 2011

The social networking site is helping reach target populations.

Facebook has developed technology to help recruit participants for clinical trials, says MediciGlobal (Philadelphia). The company is a clinical trials recruiter that has been working with Facebook to pioneer the use of the site to inform people about clinical trials that are open for enrollment.

“With its rapidly expanding capacity and diversified user base, Facebook has developed technology that helps clinical trial recruiters to precisely target populations and reach them in a way that was never before possible,” said MediciGlobal in a press release.

The company says it first began using Facebook for this purpose when recruiting adolescents and their mothers for a clinical trial-a tactic that helped save on traditional advertising costs. The company says that the range of Facebook users provides a good recruitment base, noting that as of January, 29% of Facebook users in the United States were between the ages of 35 and 54, with 18- to 24-year-olds accounting for 25.3% of U.S. Facebook users.

Facebook is not suited to all types of clinical trial recruitment, the company notes. “There are certain medical conditions that command anonymity, and people want to keep their medical condition private, especially when social stigma is a factor,” said Liz Moench, MediciGlobal’s president and CEO.

“However, when used effectively, Facebook can increase the impact of recruitment campaigns and help to reduce the cost of clinical trials,” she added.