Clinical trial recruitment tools for today’s patients

Understanding how to recruit patients for clinical trials can be one of the most challenging aspects of performing medical research. Sponsors and sites have more tools at their disposal than ever before, but keeping track of how to use these various outreach methods can be time-consuming. Additionally, using a mix of outreach is typically the best strategy to reach the highest number of potentially qualified patients — meaning observing best practices across marketing disciplines is advised.

As a clinical trial recruitment company, keeping up with clinical trial marketing best practices is part of how we advance our expertise in the field. In this blog, we share insights about several different outreach avenues and how they can be used to increase patient recruitment. 

How to use clinical trial patient recruitment tools

1. Run ads through social media and other digital channels.

Social media is one of the most powerful outreach tools available today. Approximately 95% of Americans use the internet, and a CISCRP survey of clinical trial participants found that 67% of respondents heard about clinical research online. With statistics like these, it is evident that social media outreach can be a wise investment across many condition areas and patient demographics.

2. Share print materials with local healthcare providers.

While social media is a strong strategy for reaching a broad selection of potential clinical trial volunteers, working with healthcare providers can serve as a more targeted outreach strategy. In the aforementioned CISCRP survey, results showed that 58% of patients would have preferred to hear about a trial from their primary care physician, but only 7% did. Physicians located near study site locations will often have more insight into whether a patient may qualify for a trial and may be able to share information about study opportunities with their patients.

3. Connect with patient community organizations.

Disease-specific nonprofits, patient advocacy groups, and other awareness organizations can be valuable resources for connecting to a specific patient population. It may be possible to work with them to share information about the trial with their newsletter subscribers, social media followers, or at in-person events, and patients may be more likely to participate if they learn about the trial from a source they already trust.

4. Re-engage individuals who have expressed interest in clinical trials.

Study sites and clinical trial recruitment companies often have a registry of patients who have expressed interest in participating in a clinical trial in the past and have opted in to learn about new opportunities. In a small site survey conducted by Antidote, 89% of clinical sites use existing databases for outreach to potential patients — however, only 58% report it as their most successful method. While this may be due to the small survey sample size, it is likely a method of outreach best used in tandem with other tools.

5. Work with a clinical trial recruitment company.

Clinical trial recruitment companies can be a valuable resource, as they can use all of the above approaches to connect with patients. For example, Antidote maintains a database of engaged, qualified patients to contact with eligible clinical trial opportunities, utilizes a plethora of digital advertising strategies, maintains relationships with hundreds of patient advocacy organizations, and connects directly with healthcare providers. If you’d like to learn more about our work, click the button below to get started.