High adherence and low dropout rate in a virtual clinical study of atopic dermatitis through weekly reward-based personalized genetic lifestyle reports

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningfagfællebedømt


  • Zarqa Ali
  • Kathryn Anderson
  • Andrei Chiriac
  • Anders Daniel Andersen
  • Ari Pall Isberg
  • Fernando Gesto Moreno
  • Aleksander Eiken
  • Thomsen, Simon Francis
  • John Robert Zibert

Introduction: Clinical trials often suffer from significant recruitment barriers, poor adherence, and dropouts, which increase costs and negatively affect trial outcomes. The aim of this study was to examine whether making it virtual and reward-based would enable nationwide recruitment, identify patients with variable disease severity, achieve high adherence, and reduce dropouts. Methods: In a siteless, virtual feasibility study, individuals with atopic dermatitis (AD) were recruited online. During the 8-week study, subjects used their smartphones weekly to photograph target AD lesions, and completed patient-oriented eczema measure (POEM) and treatment use questionnaires. In return, subjects were rewarded every week with personalized lifestyle reports based on their DNA. Results: Over the course of the 11 day recruitment period, 164 (82% women and 18% men) filled in the form to participate, of which 65 fulfilled the inclusion criteria and signed the informed consent. Ten were excluded as they did not complete the mandatory study task of returning the DNA sample. 55 (91% women, 9% men) subjects returned the DNA sample and were enrolled throughout Denmark, the majority outside the Copenhagen capital region in rural areas with relatively low physician coverage. The mean age was 28.5 (SD ±9.5 years, range 18-52 years). The baseline POEM score was 14.5±5.6 (range 6-28). Based on the POEM, 7 individuals had mild, 28 had moderate, 17 had severe, and 3 had very severe eczema. The retention rate was 96% as 53 out of 55 enrolled completed the study. The adherence was very high, and more than 90% of all study tasks were completed. Follow up of 41 subjects showed that 90% would take part again or continue if the study had been longer. Conclusion: A virtual trial design enables recruitment with broad geographic reach and throughout the full spectrum of disease severity. Providing personalized genetic reports as a reward seems to contribute to high adherence and retention.

TidsskriftPLoS ONE
Udgave nummer7 July
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - 2020

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