Digital Approaches to Enhancing Community Engagement in Clinical Trials


Digital approaches are increasingly common in clinical trial recruitment, retention, analysis, and dissemination. Community engagement processes have contributed to the successful implementation of clinical trials and are crucial in enhancing equity in trials. However, few studies focus on how digital approaches can be implemented to enhance community engagement in clinical trials. This narrative review examines three key areas for digital approaches to deepen community engagement in clinical trials— the use of digital technology for trial processes to decentralize trials, digital crowdsourcing to develop trial components, and digital qualitative research methods. We highlight how digital approaches enhanced community engagement through a greater diversity of participants, and deepened community engagement through the decentralization of research processes. We discuss new possibilities that digital technologies offer for community engagement, and highlight potential strengths, weaknesses, and practical considerations. We argue that strengthening community engagement using a digital approach can enhance equity and improve health outcomes.

npj Digital Medicine