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How to Pre-Screen Patients for Clinical Trials

Pre-screening is an important part of any clinical trial, and practiced rigorously by the majority of research sites. The pre-screen allows for the determination of eligibility and the assessment of patient-study fit, which is essential for recruiting the right patients and getting a clinical trial off the ground successfully. However, pre-screening is not always an efficient process, and without being clever and careful with your chosen methods, it can lead to wastage of both time and resources for your site and staff.

Historically, the pre-screening process has involved a questionnaire usually conducted on paper through a site visit, or over the telephone with a staff member asking the questions. While these methods are obviously an effective way of collecting data, they are by no means efficient. Both require significant investments of time from both staff and patients and this not only proves costly to sites, it could also deter potential participants from registering.

Fortunately, technology could hold the key to optimizing the entire process.

Questionnaires are increasingly being carried out online, via email and through apps. The potential benefits of more sites adopting these methods are significant. Let’s explore the main advantages of using technology in pre-screening:

1. Save on Staff

It’s simple, when patients are screen remotely, there is no need for staff to be involved in the data-collection part of the process. This is a great opportunity for sites to streamline operations and make savings.

2. Organize Information

Information that is collected electronically can be stored and organized in seconds. Not only that, but information that is stored electronically can be organized far more easily and to more specific criteria than the same data collected manually. Once collated, electronic information is far easier to sort through, which makes it easier to see clearly and quickly which potential participants meet eligibility requirements.

3. Retrieve Information

Once information is stored and organized electronically, it is at your fingertips. Specific data can be recalled, viewed and edited instantly. This saves time and effort sorting through information and speeds up decision making processes on participant eligibility.

4. Update Information

Information stored electronically is easily edited or updated, and pre-screening need not be completed in one sitting if it is not possible for the patient. Electronic forms can be saved and then completed or updated later.

5. Smooth transitions

Pre-screening questionnaires and data entered electronically can be collected by a ‘clinical trial management system’ which allows the data to easily be transitioned from pre-screens stage to enrollment if the patient meets eligibility requirements. This eliminates the need for further data collection as electronic forms are easily editable if amendments are necessary. Such as system makes it easy for sites to keep track of all the patients in their system and the stage they are at in relation to a particular study.

6. Easier Storage

Making the transition from manual to electronic pre-screening is also an obvious space-saver. Electronic data requires almost no space, whereas paper documentation will need to be stored at your site and if required for long periods, this could become a burden.

Case Study

At CirtusLabs, we have had great success through utilizing electronic pre-screening methods. We build apps, among them our flagship health app – MindMate, and gather extensive databases of users. Because we collect the data first, we are able to rapidly determine potentially eligible users based on any trial requirements, and we are then able to pre-screen them via the app. This approach, the speed and efficiency with which we carry out the process and deliver results is highly valued by our diverse, international set of clients.

If you are interested in more information about how also YOU can pre-screen your patients effectively, get in touch!


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