For clinical trial sites  there can be  a great deal of apprehension when using social media for the first time. We keep hearing about all the things that could go wrong, the risks to business and reputation, the ethical concerns, breaches of privacy and so on. As site managers we must be aware of all these things absolutely. We must acknowledge and respect each risk, although at the same time must not let fear of the risks stop us from ever trying or limit our recruitment options for instance.

From a site management perspective, following these simple steps can ensure that using social media for recruitment is professional, complaint optimally effective.


Step 1: Develop a Site Social Media Policy

Step 2: Delegate site social media ‘manager(s)’

Step 3: Develop advertisement set(s) on your chosen social media platform

Step 4: Submit proposed final draft to Sponsor for approval (with costings). Text, images, pre-screening questionnaires, etc.

Step 5: Submit proposed final draft to HREC/IRB per HREC/IRB submission guidelines

Step 6: Once approved, initiate and monitor

Step 7: Collect private information with consent only

Step 8: Do not misuse collected information

Step 9: Maintain privacy and confidentiality of participants

Step 10: Be available to communicate with your consumers including complaints handling and execution of dynamic quality improvements

Step 11: Collect metrics, use them to provide transparency to sponsors and CRO’s and facilitate institutional improvement

Step 12: Keep amending your internal operating procedures so you’ll do it better next time