April 17th, 2020

A growing number of patients are considering clinical trials as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

In our ongoing effort to both understand patients’ evolving attitudes toward clinical trial participation in the face of COVID-19 and support our industry’s continued commitment to bringing novel treatments to market, SubjectWell completed the second of our recent insight surveys.

We previously fielded surveys between March 19 and 23, 2020, to patients and sites throughout North America to try to uncover how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting clinical trial operations and clinical research, as well as patient attitudes. You can read about those initial findings here.

For our second survey, we wanted to focus specifically on how COVID-19 is affecting patient interest in clinical trials. Between April 2 and 8, 2020, we polled 575 patients across the United States about their desire and willingness to participate in clinical research. Overall, we found statistically significant differences in patient responses from the first survey – providing some insight into how future clinical trials may be affected.

Here are the key takeaways from our most recent survey.


Clinical trial consideration is up.

Far more patients polled would consider participation in a clinical trial.


67% of patients in the second survey have considered participation in clinical trials.

  • This represents a 15% increase in consideration compared to the first survey’s respondents (52%)


67% of those surveyed would be willing to participate in a clinical trial.

  • In the first survey, 49% of respondents expressed willingness to participate in a clinical trial
  • Only 14% of patients surveyed in the second survey said they would never participate in a clinical trial, compared to 28% in the first


COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be affecting the immediate outlook for clinical trial recruitment. More than a quarter of patients across every region of the country indicated they would be willing to participate in a clinical trial within the next month.

  • 37% in the Midwest
  • 36% in the South
  • 32% in the West
  • 26% in the Northeast


Reasons for participating changing.

As social distancing and stay-at-home orders become commonplace, our survey results suggest patients are more comfortable with the idea of telehealth and at-home care as components of clinical trials.


71% of patients surveyed would participate in clinical trials with telehealth services.

  • This represents a 10% increase compared to the first survey’s respondents (61%)


59% would participate in clinical trials with at-home visits from qualified medical staff.

  • A 6% increase compared to respondents (53%) in the first survey


Other responses when asked about their reasons for participating were similar to those in the first survey, showing patients have diverse participation preferences.

  • 59% would use an electronic diary as part of the study
  • 51% expressed a preference for fewer office visits over the course of a trial
  • 63% would appreciate the ability to collect and send lab samples from home
  • 54% cited increased on-site safety measures as a motivating factor
  • Only 11% wouldn’t feel comfortable participating in a clinical trial, which is far less than the 23% of respondents in the first survey

Telehealth services were named as a reason to participate in a clinical trial by more than two-thirds of respondents across all regions, with patients in the West reporting the greatest interest in telehealth.

  • 77% in the West
  • 72% in the Northeast
  • 68% in the South
  • 67% in the Midwest


Moving forward.

No one knows how societal behavior will change once COVID-19 is contained, or how our industry will be impacted. But if this data is any indication, patients are becoming increasingly motivated to volunteer for clinical research.

We will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation to discover its impact on clinical trial sites, as well as patients’ attitudes and feelings. Be well, and stay safe.

Have any questions for our marketplace? Reach out by emailing covid19@subjectwell.com.