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What stops people from joining trials?

Often when working on patient recruitment, it can become easy to neglect factors that might be a turn-off to potential trial participants. While so much of clinical trial recruitment is based on reaching people that may already be interested in clinical research, it’s also important to consider the barriers that stop a wider population from joining your study.

Perceived commitment

One potential barrier to clinical trial participation is the level of commitment they believe they’ll have to make in order to get involved. Many people, especially those who are new to clinical trials, do not have the time or resources necessary to devote long periods of time to research involvement.

In order to help combat this, try to give an estimate of participants’ actual time commitment when presenting new clinical trial content. For instance, though your study may run across eight weeks, the participants might only need to take a new supplement once a day and fill out a few surveys throughout the study timeline. This actual commitment could take as little as an hour of your participants’ time across eight weeks. Pitching it this way can make the process much more accessible to the busiest of your referrals.

Inadequate Compensation

Potential participants often give the discouraging feedback that they feel compensation for trials is too little. This can be disheartening, particularly when trials involve minimal time commitments as discussed above, but there are ways to encourage patient enrollment without upping the ante of your compensation.

First, if you’re offering compensation at all, consider presenting it as a “thank you gift” for participation rather than strictly as payment. This works best for low-commitment studies, and helps remind your referral that they are participating in important research for the sake of furthering medicine and potentially improving their own wellness, not just for financial reward.

If your planned compensation is in the form of gift cards or vouchers, do remember that gift cards to your own product are not necessarily appealing to new recruits who haven’t yet tested the product. Instead, consider a more universal gift card option that will be usable by all recruits, such as to Amazon or a Visa gift card.

Want to Learn More?

In addition to keeping you up to date on all things clinical trials, we also act as a digital CRO with a specific focus on patient recruitment and retention. We believe that patient recruitment and study startup (especially study design and study material) are heavily intertwined. After all, study design can make or break clinical trials, and the patient-perspective should be considered when designing studies to ensure that patient targets are met not only on time, but also on budget.

For Citruslabs, patient recruitment starts with study design and ends with trial completion. We recruit patients through our network of health apps, which enables you to connect with thousands of patients in real time. The best part: these patients are already educated and prepared for the clinical trial process.

If you’d like to hear more about what we do, go here to read about what sets us apart, or here to read what our patients have to say about us.


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