Case Study (IQOS)

Over 87% reduction in enrolment timelines for smoking cessation study.

IQOS launched in 2014 – this was a device set to transform smoking cessation starting in Japan. At present, there are over 18 million IQOS users globally. The IQOS device is classified as a heat-not-burn technology enabling users to inhale a nicotine-containing vapour through heated rather than burned tobacco.The widely accepted concept amongst users is that since the tobacco doesn’t burn, the levels of harmful chemicals is significantly reduced compared to cigarette smoke (Phillip Morrison, 2022).

The Challenge

This study assessing the health impacts of the IQOS Heat-not-Burn device in 45 participants involved one site visit and had a primary end date of March 2020. This end date was substantially delayed due to the pandemic.

In total, 16 participants were enrolled over the course of 12 months. This averages to approximately 1.3 participants per month at this site. With no intervention, enrolment timelines based on historical data would have modelled complete enrolment in ~22 months.

Beyond the pandemic, several challenges hindered enrolment rates. This included i) the identification of patients that fit temporally stringent eligibility criteria,  ii) complex conversion pathways for patients and iii) coordination of site availability.

The Solution

Our team began by conducting an audit of the existing recruitment system, creating a clear understanding of the conversion points for patients from outreach to randomisation. In this process, the full patient journey was mapped assessing spacing, user design and the flow from one conversion point to another. At each step, we helped the client understand where data would be collected to optimise recruitment moving forwards.

After gaining critical insight into the existing infrastructure, Neucruit’s data mapping algorithm was deployed to build key hypotheses around ideal patient profiles within the study. This included mapping demographics, interests and delocalisation of motivated individuals for the study. Alongside this, micro-site variations were built with pre-screening functionality and tested in select patient populations.

Hypotheses were validated using a set of campaigns. Campaign data was collected and utilised in a feedback process, using real-time optimisation to improve the recruitment framework and patient profiles accessed. Once a dominant framework was established, the team monitored the platform for the client until full delivery.

Statistics

Demographics by region

Platform
Participants
Percentage
Facebook
11
35%
Pinterest
8
25%
Instagram
5
15%
Google
3
10%
Twitter
2
5%
Reddit
1
1%
0%

Enrolment rate per month

0%

Reduction in enrolment timeline

0%

Enrolment targets met

Our efforts resulted in:

769%

Enrolment rate per month

29

Randomizations

19

Months saved

The Result

The client was able to reach their target in 3 months as compared to the original 22 month estimation based on their historical enrolment rate, reducing timelines by over 87%. Further, valuable information was generated regarding target audiences and ideal patient profiles for the IQOS heat-not-burn product.

The team are very responsive and friendly and assisted us with advertising our study to participants with specific demographics and who met our inclusion criteria. Thank you for your help!

-Dr. A. Burton

I highly recommend. An outstanding vehicle to support recruiting for research studies. We’ve needed this support mechanism for a long time.

-Dr. S. Hillman

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