Patient recruitment: the lifeline for clinical research right now

Right now, 86% of clinical trials are not meeting their patient targets on time. While statistics like this won’t surprise industry professionals, or even those with little industry savvy, we can bet you that the following will.


The latest data (published 23/03/20) from Continuum Clinical’s ongoing study into COVID-19’s impact on current trials now shows that 81% of European sites surveyed have indicated already-enrolled patients are “much less or somewhat less likely” to continue participating in clinical studies. Not only this, over the course of just one week, US clinical research sites are reporting concern surrounding this issue has increased by 124%! This marks a jump from 25% to 56% in a matter of days.


So, with the uncertainty of a global pandemic obliterating hope for current clinical research to run its course, how then are research sites supposed to recruit? How are they meant to even run clinical trials - trials that could be vital to tackling this crisis - without participants? What is important to note, first, is that the drastic decrease in confidence reported was practically unavoidable. A spike in patient uncertainty is naturally coherent with a spike in uncertainty by health experts and governments initially responding to the virus. The issue here, that could see these levels of confidence take longer than expected to return to normal, and is the really horrifying detail of the survey’s results, is that if patient recruitment and retention was already a worrying problem up until now, it may never fully recover from this crisis if we continue to do little to address it.


So, what’s the solution?


The solution, we believe, is primarily contained within two core areas of the industry: the first is in the work of patient recruitment companies (PRCs), and the second is in that of trial marketing. PRCs must be the frontline workers during this crisis, with the marketing teams of every clinical trial pulling together, in support of PRCs, to address the wider societal issues surrounding clinical trial participation. For an in-depth discussion of trial marketing and how your own team can tackle systemic issues that, right now, are dismantling clinical trials worldwide, see our article on destigmatising clinical research as well as our recent report on the impact of COVID-19.


On the first of the identified areas, our findings are these: research sites must work with patient recruitment companies to regain patient confidence. This means research sites taking advantage of the databases full of loyal candidates that PRCs can provide. Most PRCs will run other services targeted at potential patients, and through those services they will have built up years worth of respect within their customer community. For instance, here at Citruslabs, we run our Mindmate app that not only plays a vital part in improving the lifestyles of Alzheimer’s patients, but also helps us in connecting those potential patients to relevant clinical studies. Now is the time for research sites to invest in confidence, because, right now, for clinical researchers everywhere, options are very limited.


We know that it is one thing to give people solutions, but another thing entirely to put them into practice yourself. So, this is exactly what we’ve done. Read up on how Citruslabs has joined the fight against Coronavirus and how our partnership with Lazarus is promoting new and essential symptom-checker software. We hope that our involvement will inspire research sites everywhere to address the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on patient recruitment before this systemic illness becomes fatal.



Here, we’ve created the ideal patient recruitment dashboard to help researchers improve their current metrics. With over 3 million patients on record, we ensure research sites are connected to a thoroughly educated and engaged pool of participants; so, it is no wonder why we have such high patient confidence! Now, we would say that other models are available - but this would be a lie. In fact, unlike that offered by other patient recruitment companies, our easy-to-use dashboard is the first-of-its-kind for the market; giving researchers a unique insight into their patients’ wants and needs via industry-leading technology. The future of clinical recruitment starts here.

  • Interested in finding out more? Get in touch with us here, and check out our archives for all our top tips and tricks on running successful clinical trials in today's constantly changing industry.

Still a little unsure? Check out what our customers have to say about us here.

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