Clinical Trial Content And CX: Exposing Pharma’s Study Information Gaps

Executive Summary

The information about clinical trials that healthcare professionals (HCPs) receive from pharmaceutical companies leaves much to be desired. Industry materials and interactions don’t meet the expectations of HCPs, who report receiving customer experiences that are just average. No pharma firm achieves customer experience excellence with the clinical trial information it does provide. These gaps between expectation and reality have significant implications for the industry. Most clinical trial participants become aware of clinical studies via their HCPs and decide to enroll in them based on the information their HCPs provide. Nevertheless, nearly all trials either fail to enroll enough participants or miss their enrollment deadlines, increasing sponsors’ costs and delaying potential scientific breakthroughs.[i] So far, recruitment remains a persistent, pivotal obstacle within clinical research.

[i] Source: Mette Brøgger-Mikkelsen, Zarqa Ali, John R. Zibert, Anders Daniel Andersen, and Simon Francis Thomsen, “Online Patient Recruitment in Clinical Trials: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis”, J. Med. Internet Res., November 4, 2020 (

Clinical Trial Information and the Current State of CX for HCPs

To study the quality of interactions between healthcare professionals (HCPs) and the pharmaceutical industry, DT Consulting applied our Customer Experience Quotient® (CXQ®) metric to data we collected from July to September 2022.[i] In our 2022 survey, 6,270 HCPs in 14 countries across the globe rated a total of 12,540 recent experiences with a pharma company. This report analyzes HCPs’ views of clinical trial information in depth, based on survey responses from 860 HCPs who reported on 1,744 interactions. Our data gives perspectives on the overall customer experience that the pharma industry pulls together, how digital and non-digital channels compare in offering clinical trial information, and whether there are significant differences across therapy areas. We found that:

  • The overall experience leaves lots of room for improvement. HCPs gave pharma firms an average CXQ® score of 58 for clinical trial information, which falls into the “good” range of our CXQ® model and is on par with the overall CXQ® score of 59 for any content type that pharma delivers (see Figure 1). Firms conducting trials in the US, Brazil, and Canada deliver best on those countries HCPs’ expectations; the lowest scores were found in France, Japan, and India (see Figure 2).
  • Digital channels underperform against non-digital channels. Clinical trial information provided to HCPs through digital channels receives an aggregate CXQ® score of 54, five points lower than non-digital channels’ score of 59 (see Figure 3). The difference between digital and non-digital is profound when the setting is an event: an in-person event in which clinical information is discussed achieves a score of 64, whereas online events, including virtual meetings, webinars, and company-sponsored events, only score an average of 53.
  • Receiving trial information orchestrated by medical teams produces better experiences. Digital channels perform better when content is delivered by medical reps. Specifically, HCPs are most satisfied when they receive clinical trial information directly from medical reps via a video call. But face-to-face and telephone interactions with medical reps were also well received (see Figure 4). Meanwhile, the lowest CXQ® scores are associated with indirect channels such as company-sponsored information in medical journals, clinical trial company websites, and email newsletters.
  • Event size counts in driving great experiences. HCPs report better experiences when receiving clinical trial information at small, in-person company-sponsored events. Larger in-person events and online events don’t deliver equally well on HCPs’ expectations, indicating that one of the benefits of smaller events is their more personalized, interactive setting.

[i] Source: DT Consulting, “The State Of Customer Experience In The Global Pharmaceutical Industry, 2022: HCP Interactions”, January 10, 2023 (

Figure 1: Healthcare professionals had good customer experiences with clinical trial information


Figure 2: Pharmaceutical firms in Brazil, Canada, and the US deliver better clinical trial information to HCPs


Figure 3: Clinical trial information provided in digital channels still doesn’t deliver the goods


Figure 4: The best clinical trial information CX is delivered by medical reps


Pharma Must Get Better at Sharing Clinical Trial Information

Our analysis shows that, while major companies earn good CXQ® scores, a critical gap exists in delivering customer experience excellence for clinical trial information. While the relevance of content is crucial to delivering quality information about research, so is its simplicity and trustworthiness—particularly for HCPs from a different therapy area. This analysis underscores the industry’s imperative to enhance customer experiences in sharing clinical trial information. How many firms in the industry understand the importance of the setting and consistently tailor the design of the experience accordingly? We found that:

  • Nearly all large pharma firms earned good CXQ® But when it comes to delivering clinical trial information to HCPs, large pharmaceutical companies have yet to achieve customer experience excellence if relevance, simplicity, and trustworthiness are considered (see Figure 5). Most firms’ scores are in the good range; two are just fair. There is a 23-point gap between the top- and bottom-ranked companies. These results are similar to those for other content types such as education, drug information, and disease information.
  • Relevance drives customer experience more than simplicity or trustworthiness. Our benchmark found that only one company delivers excellent experiences in at least one of the three CX dimensions. While HCPs gave Firm D a CXQ® score of 75 for the relevance of its clinical trial content, the company received a far lower score of 57 for simplicity, putting it in fourth place overall in our ranking. Firm A’s leading score rests on strong ratings for the trustworthiness and relevance of its clinical trial content.

Figure 5: Large pharma companies still need to achieve clinical trial information excellence


Most Clinical Trial Information Isn’t Fit for Patients

An earlier DT survey that collected patients’ experiences with clinical trials found that patients generally get to know about clinical trials from their HCPs.[i] The current research looked at HCPs’ perceptions of patient-ready clinical trial information more closely. It found that HCPs often don’t receive this information from the firms they work with and say that the information they do receive is not relevant to their day-to-day jobs. Specifically:

  • HCPs don’t get enough information on trials that is fit to share with patients … Only 14% of HCPs reported receiving clinical trial information on for patients in the past three months (see Figure 6). Sixty percent of HCPs who received no information said that they would use such content if pharma firms provided it; 36% said that they would like to receive this information once or twice a month (see Figure 7). Over 70% would like it to be delivered in-person by a medical or sales rep. This disconnect gives pharma firms an opportunity to raise their game and meet patient needs.
  • … and are not prioritizing sharing this type of content with patients. While HCPs consider new clinical data to be critical for doing their jobs, they don’t say the same about patient-ready clinical trial information. HCPs are more interested in receiving trial information made specifically for them than for patients. Given that the overall CXQ® score for this type of content is below 60 in most countries, pharma must provide better content so more HCPs talk about and share the material with patients.

[i] Source: DT Consulting, “A Glimpse Into The Clinical Trial Participant Experience As Designed By The Pharmaceutical Industry”, April 25, 2022 (

Figure 6: HCPs don’t get enough information on trials that is fit to share with patients decreasing it’s relevance


Figure 7: Clinical trial information should be delivered at least once a month by medical reps face to face



DT Consulting’s Customer Experience Quotient® (CXQ®) study of HCP interactions with clinical trial information was conducted from July to September 2022 as part of DT’s global CXQ® study of HCP interactions. The email-initiated online customer experience survey involved almost 860 HCPs working primarily in cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology/diabetology, gastroenterology, general practice/family medicine, hematology, oncology, and pulmonology/respiratory. Each of the respondents rated their most recent experience with a clinical trial information produced by a pharma company on their trust, relevance, and simplicity to produce a CXQ® score for a variety of different channels used by the pharma industry.

Related Research

Companies Researched In This Report

Abbott, AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Bristol Myers Squibb, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson Innovative Medicine, Lilly, Novartis, Novo Nordisk, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda


Francesca Properzi crc

Francesca Properzi


Francesca has more than ten years of experience in life science and healthcare research projects, including frontline scientific research, digital transformation, and innovative technologies. As Director of Research, she steers the DT thought leadership team to generate valuable insights into customer experiences in the clinical and medical affairs areas of the biopharmaceutical value chain.

Dominic Tyer​


Dominic has more than 20 years of pharmaceutical publishing experience at leading industry titles and is an influential author on the digital transformation of the healthcare sector. In his current role at DT Consulting he is responsible for defining and executing the company’s expanding publication agenda and peer networking event schedule, both of which address the needs of pharmaceutical companies and their leaders.

Dominic Tyer crc
Hannah Price crc

Hannah Price

Senior Director

Hannah has more than a decade of experience working with commercial and technology leaders focused on digital and customer experience transformation. She advises organizations on how to evolve their customer offering to take advantage of digital capabilities and develop the internal competencies required to effect this transformation. In her current role as Director of Customer Experience, she leads DT’s customer experience practice, guiding the world’s largest pharmaceutical firms towards creating deliberate, holistic experiences for customers that leverage digital channels and deliver business value.

New CXQ® Global HCP Data Report​

For the first time DT Consulting has produced an extended CXQ® dataset that is being made available to purchase. The new CXQ® Global HCP Data Report provides an extended look at the themes covered in The State Of Customer Experience In The Global Pharmaceutical Industry, 2022: HCP Interactions report, offering a unique level of insight into the nuances of CX in pharma.

It will offer:

  • Company benchmarks by relevance, simplicity, and trust
  • CXQ® scores for all digital and non-digital channels
  • HCPs’ channel preferences for different types of content
  • And much more…

For more information on the new CXQ® Global HCP Data Report, email:

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