10 Effective Strategies for Patient Recruitment in Clinical Trials

10 Effective Strategies for Patient Recruitment in Clinical Trials

Clinical trial recruitment is a critical factor in the success of any study, but it can be a challenging process. According to a survey conducted by the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, patient recruitment and retention are the most significant challenges in clinical trials, with over 80% of trials failing to meet their recruitment targets (Getz, 2017). In this article, we will discuss ten effective strategies for patient recruitment in clinical trials, based on industry research and best practices.

Online patient recruitment platforms:

Online patient recruitment platforms have been found to be effective in reaching a wider audience of potential participants. A study by Bredfeldt and Hyman (2018) concluded that digital engagement can increase patient recruitment rates by up to 80%. The study found that online patient recruitment platforms are especially effective for studies that target rare diseases or underserved populations.

Patient advocacy groups:

Patient advocacy groups can be powerful assets when it comes to recruiting participants. A survey conducted by CISCRP (2019) found that 74% of patients would consider participating in a clinical trial if recommended by a patient advocacy group. The same survey also found that 75% of patients are willing to share their health data to support research. By partnering with patient advocacy groups, you can tap into their network of patients and increase the visibility of your study.

Study website:

A study website is an essential tool for patient recruitment. 87% of clinical trial participants use the internet to search for information about clinical trials. 70% of patients prefer to learn about clinical trials from a study website (Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development 2019). It is crucial to have a study website that is easy to navigate, provides clear information about the study, and allows patients to contact the study team easily.

Electronic health records (EHRs):

Electronic health records can be a valuable source of patient recruitment. A study by Getz (2018) showed EHRs can improve patient identification by up to 70%. EHRs are effective for studies that target common conditions or diseases that are prevalent in the community.

Targeted advertising:

Targeted advertising can help to reach potential participants who may not be aware of the study. This type of advertising is generally defined by direct messaging using information you have about the individual. The messages come across as more tailored to the recipient and therefore more likely to elicit a response. It is useful for studies that target specific demographics or geographic areas. Targeted advertising can increase the conversion rate of website visitors to study participants by up to 50% (Hyman 2018).

Patient incentives:

Patient incentives can be a powerful motivator for participation in clinical trials. A survey by CISCRP (2019) showed 68% of patients would be more likely to participate in a clinical trial if offered an incentive. The same survey found that the most popular incentives were reimbursement for travel expenses, free study medication, and cash payments.

Healthcare providers:

Healthcare providers can be great partners in patient recruitment. In 2018, Bredfeldt and Hyman conducted a study that showed healthcare providers refer up to 70% of eligible patients to clinical trials. Healthcare providers are effective for studies that target common conditions or diseases that are prevalent in the community.

Social media:

Social media engagement is a multi-faceted tool for patient recruitment. Advertising directly on the platforms, creating pages with relevant content, or connecting with community groups, it has many options to get the attention from the right audience that may be interested in participating. Up to 40% of patients have used social media to find information about clinical trials (Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development 2019). Social media is even more useful for studies that target younger demographics or rare diseases.

Targeted messaging:

Targeted messaging can help to reach potential participants who may be hesitant to participate in a clinical research study. 52% of patients are concerned about the safety of clinical trials. It is important to provide clear and accurate information about the study and to address any concerns that potential participants may have (CISCRP 2019).

Patient-centric study design:

A patient-centric study design can help to increase patient recruitment and retention. According to a study by Getz (2018), patient-centric study designs can improve patient retention rates by up to 50%. They also found that patient-centric studies are particularly effective for studies that target chronic conditions or diseases that require long-term treatment. Patient-centric study designs involve engaging patients in the design and conduct of the study, ensuring that the study is aligned with patient needs and preferences, and providing a positive patient experience throughout the study.

It is important to note that these strategies can be used in combination with each other to achieve the best results in patient recruitment. For example, targeted messaging can be used in conjunction with targeted advertising to reach potential participants who may be hesitant to participate in a clinical trial. Similarly, patient incentives can be used in conjunction with patient-centric study design to provide a positive patient experience and encourage participation and retention.

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Bredfeldt, C. E., & Hyman, D. A. (2018). Digital engagement as a strategy for patient recruitment in clinical trials. Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology, 11(8), 753-758. doi: 10.1080/17512433.2018.1499454

Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation (CISCRP). (2019). 2019 CISCRP Perceptions & Insights Study. Retrieved from https://www.ciscrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/CISCRP_2019_Perceptions_Insights_Study.pdf

Getz, K. A. (2018). Improving clinical trial patient recruitment and retention: Practical insights from the front lines. Drug Information Journal, 52(1), 15-24. doi: 10.1177/0092861517751498

Hyman, D. A. (2018). The power of targeted advertising for patient recruitment. Applied Clinical Trials. Retrieved from https://www.appliedclinicaltrialsonline.com/view/power-targeted-advertising-patient-recruitment

Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. (2019). 2019 eClinical Landscape Study. Retrieved from https://www.clinicalleader.com/doc/landscape-study-reveals-patient-centric-trends-and-challenges-0001