US-based patient-recruitment specialist BBK Worldwide has launched a new online tool that leverages Google’s virtual tours facility to improve engagement with potential study participants.

The tool features 360-degree imaging that can provide a virtual walk-around the locations where a particular clinical trial is being conducted.

This should help to “set expectations and lessen any concerns [patients] may have about participating in a clinical research study”, BBK says.

The company is launching its new product to coincide with the 49th Annual Meeting of the Drug Information Association, which is being held in Boston, US from 23-27 June 2013.

Educating patients

“This tool is an extension of our commitment to educating patients on clinical research,” explained Matthew Stumm, principal, creative & media strategy at BBK Worldwide.      

“It allows for potential study participants, family members, and loved ones to explore the study location in advance – at their convenience.”

The tool can also cement relationships between study sponsors and individual sites, Stumm pointed out.

"Showcasing the study sites online demonstrates the clinical trial sponsor’s long-term commitment to supporting enrollment efforts at the site level,” he noted

Moreover, there are efficiency gains for the sites themselves.

“In our experience, virtual tours are a great way to orient patients,” commented Patrick McLaughlin, executive director of US research facility Anaheim Clinical Trials.

“Site staff can spend a lot of time getting patients accustomed to their space – this technology reduces the burden on site staff and frees them up to focus on patient care.”