Knowing your audience and meeting their needs is essential to developing a successful communications program. This is especially true when it comes to clinical research and communications, specifically in the pediatric population – clinical trial design and recruitment/retention strategy development are impacted.

Children are not little adults and need to be treated as children when considering medical treatment. The most effective and safe way to do this is through clinical research. Similarly, the best way to achieve success in pediatric trials is by designing them for children, not little adults. Knowing your audience in this case means tailoring the recruitment and retention strategies to the age group of this patient population.

The most important consideration related to pediatrics is that children learn and respond best to challenges through play. A key tactic to bringing play into pediatric clinical research is making unpleasant yet necessary activities rewarding via online games – known as gamification. This approach is very appealing to children and their caregivers since, today, play not only takes place in the park but online. Consider the one-year old who can play Angry Birds on a tablet! There are benefits for all parties involved when fun and rewarding games are provided to support a child throughout their participation in a trial:

Enhanced compliance

Fighting with children to complete health-related activities that they find unpleasant or annoying is not uncommon. However, by associating these activities with a game that is interactive and rewards them for their actions, children will be motivated to complete such tasks. When it comes to clinical research, this is especially important as children will be less likely to view trial activities as a burden and compliance will benefit as a result.

Responsible children

Games that promote learning will empower children to take responsibility for their health and managing their condition. Many children go through the ‘why’ phase… why this? Why that? Sound familiar? Providing children with background knowledge about their disease, what actions they need to complete and why will ensure that they are on the right path to responsibly manage their condition from childhood to adulthood.

Overall, the key to success for any clinical research program is to know your audience. So, when it comes to pediatric trials toss aside your inhibitions and rediscover your inner child with gamification. Don’t delay, start now and give it try: Diabetic Dog Game, Pablo & Oliver’s Gamepad.

Daniella McCrorie