What Do Patients Want When Interacting with eDiaries? Part 1: Improving Study Design and Scheduling


by Susan M. Dallabrida, Ph.D. and Laura Khurana, M.P.H.

Much research has been done to document patients’ preferences for electronic patient diaries (eDiaries) over the traditional pen-and-paper approach. However, our industry has had little insight into how patients prefer to interact with eDiaries. This series presents findings from a survey conducted to understand what patients want when completing eCOA diaries during clinical trials.

Survey data from 408 patients with osteoarthritis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), depression, or Type II diabetes were collected in the following use categories:  patient engagement, compliance, ease of use, and feedback on specific eCOA design features. In total, 132 different questions were asked.

The study’s findings demonstrate that minor modifications in the design of eDiaries can make a difference in improving patients’ experiences and protocol compliance. The findings include:

  • Patients are willing to engage in trials using daily electronic patient diaries for considerable periods of time, including 5 years or longer, but prefer studies of 1-2 years in duration.
  • Most patients are interested in using electronic methods (e.g., smartphone app, email, text messages) to interact with their physician between clinic visits.
  • Patients slightly prefer evening over morning for eDiary completion, but rate both times favorably.
  • Most patients think it would be helpful to have audible alarms to remind them to record their symptoms or take their medication.

Check back next week for Part 2 of this series, where we’ll review how sponsors can improve the eDiary user interface to improve patient engagement during clinical trials.

And, for additional information on the effective use of eCOA to improve and accelerate clinical development, visit our eCOA page.

Susan M. Dallabrida PhD is Vice President, eCOA Clinical Science & Consulting Services, ERT and Laura Khurana is Senior Scientific Advisor, eCOA Clinical Science & Consulting Services, ERT