Trust is the cornerstone of clinical trial recruitment and retention. Efforts to decrease barriers and increase clinical trial participation among diverse populations have yielded modest results. There is an urgent need to better understand the complex interactions between trust and clinical trial participation. The process of trust-building has been a focus of intense research in the business community. Yet, little has been published about trust in oncology clinical trials or the process of building trust in clinical trials. Both clinical trials and business share common dimensions. Business strategies for building trust may be transferable to the clinical trial setting. This study was conducted to understand and utilize contemporary thinking about building trust to develop an Integrated Model of Trust that incorporates both clinical and business perspectives.
A key word–directed literature search of the PubMed, Medline, Cochrane, and Google Search databases for entries dated between 1 January 1985 and 1 September 2015 was conducted to obtain information from which to develop an Integrated Model of Trust.
Successful trial participation requires both participants and clinical trial team members to build distinctly different types of interpersonal trust to effect recruitment and retention. They are built under conditions of significant emotional stress and time constraints among people who do not know each other and have never worked together before. Swift Trust and Traditional Trust are sequentially built during the clinical trial process. Swift trust operates during the recruitment and very early active treatment phases of the clinical trial process. Traditional trust is built over time and operates during the active treatment and surveillance stages of clinical trials. The Psychological Contract frames the participants’ and clinical trial team members’ interpersonal trust relationship. The “terms” of interpersonal trust are negotiated through the psychological contract. Contract renegotiation occurs in response to cyclical changes within the trust relationship throughout trial participation.
The Integrated Model of Trust offers a novel framework to interrogate the process by which diverse populations and clinical trial teams build trust. To our knowledge, this is the first model of trust-building in clinical trials that frames trust development through integrated clinical and business perspectives. By focusing on the process, rather than outcomes of trust-building diverse trial participants, clinical trials teams, participants, and cancer centers may be able to better understand, measure, and manage their trust relationships in real time. Ultimately, this may foster increased recruitment and retention of diverse populations to clinical trials.