What is a Virtual Advisory Board product?

By Monica St. Claire

Almost 60 percent of all clinical trial protocols have at least one amendment. Amendments lower the numbers of recruited patients as well as increase the cost of clinical trials according to Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development Impact Study from 2016.1  Obtaining input from patients and caregivers early in the protocol development process could prevent many amendments. This is just one reason to consider an Inspire virtual advisory board.

Virtual advisory boards provide clients with a long-term opportunity to engage with key patients and caregivers to inform high stakes decision-making, including R&D and trial development.

Utilizing the power of natural and authentic forum language analysis is central to Inspire’s virtual advisory board product. These private research communities can run for weeks or months, depending on the scope and engagement need.

The Process

Our advisory board clients provide a list of criteria for patient and/or caregiver inclusion in the community and Inspire recruits a hand-selected group of targeted respondents.

Inspire then creates an online platform where the advisory board meets and engages as a private community within Inspire.

Ongoing, tailored conversational prompts, collaboratively developed by Inspire’s team of healthcare linguists and research specialists and our client’s research team, form the basis of the community interaction. Our team moderates and engages with the custom-built community, regularly placing discussion prompts in the advisory board. The community responds and reacts to the prompts in rich detail and Inspire’s linguists analyze and transform community content into relevant and actionable answers, insights, and recommendations. Our client receives these recommendations on a monthly basis and has the flexibility to customize their next interaction with the advisory board based on these findings. Surveys or virtual patient interviews can be utilized to explore insights from the naturally occurring discussions further.

For Example

Take a pharmaceutical company interested in increasing participation in a cancer clinical trial. They might create an advisory board with patients and caregivers. On a weekly or monthly basis, the client can explore:

  •       Perceived burdens/barriers to clinical trial participation
  •       Perceptions of clinical research/motivators for participating in clinical trials
  •       Reactions to a protocol design
  •       Understanding of an informed consent document

They can examine deeply the perceived burdens of clinical trial participation, perhaps exploring perceived barriers around specific procedures that are part of the current protocol.

Or it may be found that certain terminology common to R&D is poorly understood by patients and caregivers. Other phrases can be tested to determine comprehension and clarity.

Inspire’s virtual advisory board is a 360-degree patient and caregiver research and data analytics opportunity. Integrating the most valuable forms of real-world, patient voice and experience data, it flexibly evolves alongside the most important R&D journey milestones to inform high-stakes decision-making.  For more details of a virtual advisory board used to understand patients prior to a product launch, download our case study, “The Virtual Advisory Board Solution.”

See our case study “The Virtual Advisory Board Solution”

Download case study

Inspire offers a trusted community to patients and caregivers.  Our goal with this blog, this website and our content is to provide the life science industry access to the true, authentic patient voice.  In so doing, we support faithful operationalization of patient-centricity.  Take a look at our case studies, eBooks and news outlet coverage.


1Amendments Reduce Number of Patients, But at High Cost, Longer Study Times. Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development Impact Study. January/February, Vol. 18 No.1 https://csdd.tufts.edu/impact-reports/