5 key steps to successful patient recruitment
Patient recruitment is essential to the success of any clinical trial, which can also be seen in the current announcement of the UK. The government is planning to launch 5 new regional patient recruitment centres with an investment of £7 million. Every researcher knows that adequate sample size is necessary for the validity of a clinical study. Recruiters know that enrolling in this sample comes with a number of its own challenges. Recognizing these challenges and knowing how to overcome them is key to any good recruitment strategy. Below, we have outlined 5 ways for you to achieve your recruitment goals.
1. Educate prospective patients
When you begin the recruitment process for your clinical trial, it is essential that potential participants understand what they’re getting into. By outlining the purpose of the trial and ensuring patients understand what will be expected of them throughout, you can improve your chances of securing participants. After all, knowledge is power! Once recruits are clear about the research study and the clinical trial process as a whole, they’ll be able to make an informed decision about participating. Confusion can be one of the biggest obstacles to participation, so clarity is your greatest asset.
P.S. This step also proves to be invaluable when it comes to retaining participants!
2. Recruit with attrition in mind
In theory, recruiting a sample that accounts for attrition sounds like a no brainer. However, in practice, this may not be possible due to time constraints and budget restrictions. That being said, if you have the opportunity to provide yourself with a little leeway, then take it! Dropouts are almost a guarantee throughout the clinical trial process, so anything you can do at the outset of the study to help to reduce the impact of these setbacks will go far.
By adding this safety net to your recruitment plan, you can help to ensure the overall success of the trial. Another option is to continue to recruit patients during the study. This does not work for many clinical trials, but if it is an option for yours, then it is definitely worth considering.
3. Know where to find your patients
The recruitment process is often a time-consuming one. Recruiters are always looking for ways to increase efficiency and cut costs. One place to start is in narrowing your recruitment campaign. Knowing where to focus and who to target can save valuable time and money. There are numerous fantastic organizations that likely work with those who are living with the disease you’re recruiting for. By consulting these key contributors and combining your efforts, recruiters can access the target population of their study with ease.
Additionally, technology is bringing patients to clinical trial recruiters like never before. For example, Citruslabs collects valuable patient data through a network of health apps and pre-screens eligible candidates across different demographics, helping you find suitable candidates for your study. Tools like this streamline the process and remove the pain points that hold recruitment back.
4. Let people know about the study
One thing recruiters cannot do without is publicity. The best way to get people involved in a clinical trial is to let them know that it’s happening. Once you get the green light to start recruiting, it’s time to start advertising. Traditional advertising is a popular method to attract patients, but many of the people who see your ad won’t find it relevant. Increasingly, online platforms are also being used to contact prospective participants. Social media allows recruiters to reach more potential candidates than ever before, but you’re still faced with a broad audience that is likely neither qualified nor interested. Technology such as health apps and online support groups has also created new networks of patients that may not have been accessible prior to the advent of the internet. The best recruitment strategy? Combine the old with the new. This will help you to make the biggest impact.
5. Be clear about eligibility
Eligibility is the most important consideration when it comes to admitting patients to clinical trials. It is essential to clearly set out the criteria for inclusion and exclusion. Firstly, this can be helpful in excluding those who are not suitable for the study and those who are more likely to drop out. Additionally, in some cases, it may be possible for investigators to be more flexible with their eligibility criteria. If this is the case, then recruiters may have the opportunity to do subsequent rounds of enrollment to make up the numbers for the required sample size. No matter what the circumstances of the trial are, once recruiters are clear on the eligibility criteria, they can adapt their strategy to ensure the greatest recruitment success.
Your steps to successful patient recruitments
Citruslabs' mission is to accelerate research through technology to make a difference for millions of people living with health conditions. We have over 5 years of experiences in matching patients with over 200 clinical trials. Our solution enables research sites to save time and hit their enrollment metrics ahead of time. Do you want to know more about how Citruslabs can help you throughout your patient recruitment process? Contact us here.