Social media could potentially be the next big disruptor in clinical trials, according to an article published in Nature.
For example, according to the article, parents of children involved in a clinical trial for Duchenne muscular dystrophy are able to discuss amongst one another in a Facebook group how their children are progressing in the trial, as well as who potentially could be receiving placebos.
“Social-media interactions can empower those living with disease, and their families, to make informed choices about their health care and clinical trials,” the article states. “Some people have even united on social media to launch trials of their own.”
Discussions which take place between individuals involved in the trial process, however, create some complications.
“Online discussions threaten to compromise trial integrity when participants join forces to work out who is receiving a placebo,” the article states. “Discussing potential side effects can also influence results, particularly when the symptoms are subjective.”