A significant shift towards prioritizing clinical trial patient engagement (PE) and patient experience data (PXD) is palpable in clinical trials. This article delves into the critical role of PE and PXD, highlighting insights from a recent global literature review and offering actionable recommendations for sponsors. This transition is not just a procedural change; it’s a strategic move towards ensuring clinical trials align more with patients’ real-world needs and experiences and are becoming essential components of regulatory and payer coverage approvals.

Why are Clinical Trial Patient Engagement and PXD Important in Clinical Trials?

Integrating PE and PXD into clinical trials is paramount in ensuring that the research is scientifically valid, relevant, and meaningful to patients. PE and PXD ensure that the trials are tailored to the patient’s needs and concerns, and the outcomes are pertinent to the patients. By effectively engaging patients and incorporating their experiences and insights into the clinical trial design and execution, sponsors can ensure that the trials address the real-world needs and preferences of the patients. This approach leads to more meaningful and impactful clinical research, as it is grounded in the lived experiences and insights of the patients it aims to serve.

Moreover, integrating PE and PXD into clinical trials enhances the likelihood of both regulators and payers approving and covering the medical product because it signals to regulators and payers that the product has been evaluated in a context that mirrors real-world scenarios, ensuring its effectiveness and relevance to the patient population it is intended for.

The Data from the Literature About Clinical Trial Patient Engagement and What It Says

A paper by Neil Bertelsen et al. provides a global review highlighting the distribution of initiatives focused on PE and PXD. A total of 53 relevant initiatives and resources were identified, with a significant emphasis on PE and PXD, and a smaller percentage focusing on their integration.

The pie chart succinctly illustrates the focus distribution among identified initiatives related to clinical trial Patient Engagement (PE) and Patient Experience Data (PXD). A significant portion (49%) is dedicated to PE, emphasizing active patient involvement in clinical trials and research projects. Meanwhile, PXD claims 28% of the focus, highlighting the importance of collecting and analyzing patient-generated data for more insightful and patient-centered research outcomes. Notably, integrating PE and PXD, a crucial approach for a comprehensive and holistic research paradigm, is the focus of 22% of the identified initiatives. This distribution underscores the imperative of bolstering efforts towards seamlessly integrating both PE and PXD for enhanced clinical research outcomes, ensuring the incorporation of patient insights and the utilization of their experiential data for more informed and patient-centric clinical research endeavors.

pie chart
Pie chart showing the distribution of patient initiatives

The bar chart vividly depicts the geographical distribution of 53 initiatives and projects focused on clinical trial Patient Engagement (PE) and PXD from which the insights above were generated. With 14 global initiatives leading the chart, it’s evident that the emphasis on PE and PXD is burgeoning into a global phenomenon.

Bar Chart
Data was obtained from a global analysis

Recommendations for Sponsors to Incorporate Clinical Trial Patient Experience and PXD into Protocols and Studies

For sponsors eager to embed PE and PXD into clinical trials, consider the following strategies:

  • Early Engagement: Involve patients from the start in designing the trial. For instance, seeking patient input on trial protocols can ensure the study design is feasible and patient-friendly, leading to higher recruitment and retention rates.
  • Patient-Centric Outcome Measures: Utilize outcome measures meaningful to patients. For example, using qualitative data from early clinical trial patient engagement helps select appropriate patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) to assess patient’s quality of life, symptoms, and treatment satisfaction, relevant to the patients’ needs.
  • Leverage Technology: Employ technology for efficient PXD collection and analysis. For example, using decentralized clinical trials (DCT) components and technologies can streamline data collection, enhancing the patient experience and ensuring data accuracy.
  • Diverse Representation: Ensure diverse patient representation in clinical trials. For instance, actively reaching out to underrepresented communities can ensure the trial results apply to a broader patient population.
  • Post-Trial Engagement: Continue engaging with patients post-trial. Sharing trial results with participants, for example, can foster a sense of partnership and respect, contributing to positive patient relationships and insights for future research.


In conclusion, integrating PE and PXD into clinical trials signifies a pivotal move towards more patient-centered and impactful clinical research. The global data, examples, and insights from the literature, together with the changing expectations of payers and regulatory bodies, underline the essential role of patient insights and experiences in shaping successful, relevant, and impactful clinical trials. The recommendations offer a roadmap for sponsors to effectively incorporate PE and PXD, ensuring clinical trials resonate with patient needs and expectations.


[1] Bertelsen, N., Dewulf, L., Ferrè, S. et al. Patient Engagement and Patient Experience Data in Regulatory Review and Health Technology Assessment: A Global Landscape Review. Ther Innov Regul Sci (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s43441-023-00573-7

[2] https://www.pharmexec.com/view/key-clinical-trial-themes-dia-2014