We held a PATH-2 Study site staff meeting, online.



In March 2017, recruitment on the PATH-2 Study fell behind its monthly target of 12 participants per month, with four months to go to the end of recruitment. 9 participants were recruited in March, after 12 in January and 15 in February.

We decided to hold a motivational Study Day for site staff, and planned entertainment and informative talks. We chose a date and booked a venue in Birmingham. PATH-2 is not an easy study and we wanted to thank our site staff for working hard to recruit and retain each patient, to give clinical and non-clinical site staff a chance to network with each other, and to increase the chances that no eligible patient was missed. Unfortunately, of the 80 people we invited, only four accepted. Many couldn’t spare a day from the clinic at short notice (5 weeks) but would have loved to attend. As we couldn’t move the date, we decided to hold the meeting online.


With help from the OCTRU Programming Team, we designed a web page within our OCTRU PATH-2 website with a layout that loosely resembled a conference venue. There were three areas:

• Lecture Theatre: we prepared short videos with study updates and science background, and provided “ask a question” buttons to represent the Q&A at the end of a lecture.
• Seminar Room: discussion areas and prizes.
• Coffee Lounge: silly cartoons based around study themes, a caption competition and the results of a site staff survey that we had recently performed.

The page, named the Reach Target Event, was launched on 15th May. Email reminders were sent during the next three weeks and when new content was posted. We offered certificates for “attendance”, and we suggested discussion subjects for the Seminar Room. We posted a new cartoon every day for two weeks. See https://path2.octru.ox.ac.uk/ and scroll down for “Reach Target Event”.

Response from sites

We were surprised to see how many people viewed the pages. From Google and Youtube analytics, there were 248 page views and 98 unique page views in three weeks. The videos gained 99 views. Page views peaked every time we sent out an email, which shows they were effective. This was despite the Microsoft XP cyber attack, which hit NHS hospitals on the Reach Target Event launch day, and took out many of our sites staff’s access to email and internet for more than a week.

On the other hand, engagement was lower than expected. A handful of people requested certificates, and only one contributed to discussions and “ask a question”.
We asked for feedback using an online survey. The comments were positive, e.g. “liked the cartoons”; “keep up the good work” but nobody claimed to have changed their
behaviour in any way as a result.

Would I recommend it? On balance, yes

The event cost far less than a Study day, was set up in three weeks, and was almost painless, thanks to Simon Shayler and Tim Cranston of the OCTRU Programming Team, who created the web page style sheet and surveys and offered advice. All site staff were included, and we think more clicked the link than would have attended a Study Day.Recruitment picked up in April (17) while we were preparing Reach Target and since then has held at 10-17 per month but there is no evidence that Reach Target increased recruitment. There was no networking, but our site staff were amused and favourably disposed towards the study. They appreciated the effort, and it was successful in disseminating trial updates. These softer benefits made it worth the effort.

Thanks also to David McCann for help with site design and emails.