The importance of localization in clinical trialsMay 23, 2023 | Process
The need to recruit and retain patients from around the world is critical – not just to satisfy regulatory bodies but also to widen diversity. That’s why this article explains ways you can adopt localization in decentralized clinical trials outside your domestic market to widen diversity, increase enrollments and enhance retention.
Communication in decentralized trials
The move to decentralized trials provides opportunities to increase patient numbers, particularly underrepresented groups who might be unable to travel to physical sites.
But with reduced in-person communication in decentralized trials, language and cultural obstacles can pose challenges. Healthcare communications agencies and CROs must therefore communicate effectively to recruit and retain patients where the preferred language is not English.
How can you improve communication in decentralized trials? Localization is one communication approach to consider. Let’s start by examining what localization actually means.
Localization is a process used to connect your message with an audience. It includes localizing text, images text and audio, to ensure your message is linguistically and culturally appropriate for your target audience. It also includes formatting measurements, currency and dates for each territory.
Why is localization in clinical trials so important?
Localization can be an important part of ensuring your content is well-received, understood and correctly acted on. It can also be important for complying with local regulations.
Decentralized clinical trials have seen a huge increase in digital communications Websites, apps and wearables need to deliver your key messages clearly and persuasively in all the territories you are targeting.
If your digital media is localized effectively it creates a more engaging experience for visitors.
Localizing content for cultural sensitivities
But without localization, there’s the risk that your content could be considered culturally inappropriate and therefore be poorly received, ignored or misunderstood. Here are two examples of localization work which Conversis recently completed which demonstrate this point:
Here are some examples of how Conversis has recently localized content
- We advised a client that the appearance of bacon in an icon was culturally insensitive for a particular market and advised how to replace it.
- The wording of advice on avoiding pregnancy in a country with a conservative culture was subtly changed so the message was more sympathetic to audiences’ attitudes.
Overcoming regulatory hurdles using localization in clinical trials
National and transnational regulations affect the way patient recruitment can be conducted. Localization is therefore an important task in regulation compliance. Here are two examples of Conversis localization work which involved regulations:
- South Africa: We removed text pertaining to payment, reimbursement, and compensation as this is not applicable to this target country.
- Turkey: We removed text that encouraged participation in the study, which is prohibited in this target country.
Adopting display preferences
Localization also extends to the layout. This includes content in the 12 languages written from the right to the left. For these languages, localization affects text, layout, line breaks and number formatting.
By way of example, Conversis recently changed the percentages formatting for a project so the translated language for Arabic reads ‘%50’.
The importance of life sciences specialists
Localization of content for decentralized clinical trials requires life sciences specialists. From project managers to linguists, everyone working on such projects must be steeped in life sciences. As the need for patients in clinical trials increases, localization is a vital tool to connect with them worldwide. If you’re involved in the success of a clinical trial outside your domestic market, make sure localization is considered in patient recruitment and retention.
If you have a localization challenge, why not book a free consultancy with Conversis? Drop us a line using our contact form.