5 ways to drive innovative patient recruitment in 2020

It's a new year and a new decade with much promise, especially in drug development. New digital technologies, from telemedicine to wearables and new medical devices will continue to change the industry. AI and machine learning hold the exciting potential to accelerate new treatments and potential cures. With all that technology has changed within the drug development process, there are many more advancements still to come. One part of the process that has been particularly elusive and slow to change has been within patient recruitment. It may be 2020, but we’re left with an old problem: 80%  of clinical trials are still delayed or closed due to difficulties with patient recruitment.

In general, it takes at least ten years to bring a drug from initial discovery to pharmacy shelves. This includes six to seven years for clinical trials — of which 30% (more than any other part of the process) will be spent recruiting patients. Accelerating this crucial part of clinical research can not only put new treatment options into the hands of patients more quickly, it can also save sponsors a significant amount of time, money, and resources. By one estimate, for every day a trial is delayed, a sponsor loses up to $8M/day in both operational and opportunity costs. 

The need for changes in the way patients are recruited will continue in this new decade if left unaddressed, which is why we’re sharing five innovative clinical trial recruitment strategies for 2020:

  1. Get in touch with the human side. Technology will continue to provide important and impactful solutions within medical research but it’s important to remember that taking part in a clinical trial is a fundamentally human process. Ensuring human connection is available every step of the way is critical and is often an exception, not a rule, in today’s clinical trial recruitment. For example, at Antidote, patient liaison managers, not bots, answer our patient lines and call patients to talk through each trial. The feedback from patients about this service is overwhelmingly positive. 
  2. Balance human touch with technology. Technology is critical to reach patients online and to assist in the enrollment process. One key area where technology can play a big role in driving innovative patient recruitment is in trial search. If a patient can use technology to narrow down the thousands of trials currently recruiting to a handful that may be right for them, one major barrier to enrollment has already been hurdled. 
  3. Tap into existing data. Not every recruitment project needs to start from zero. Sites have patient lists, of course, but recruitment companies often have more comprehensive lists of engaged patients interested in taking part in trials. In addition, because many patients search for trials using technological platforms (like Antidote Match), the companies that build search technologies can often provide valuable insights, such as where to find the highest concentrations of likely eligible patients. 
  4. Ask the experts. Would you build a new house without consulting an architect? Patient recruitment requires professional expertise as well. This means working with a company that specializes in patient recruitment. Look for a company that engages patients themselves for their knowledge and advice. Talk to patients before you begin — get a sense of how your study drug might help them, what the pushback might be, and what kind of messaging would resonate with them. You can find patients where they are online and through social media, or work with a company that is already connected to a patient community and can engage with them efficiently and effectively. All this information is critical to ensuring that recruitment material development and outreach will be successful. 
  5. Streamline your recruitment efforts. If you’re running more than one trial in related conditions, consider portfolio-level recruitment. This means recruiting for many trials at once — reaching a broad audience with a certain condition, then helping patients narrow down their options and determine which of your trials is the right fit. This not only saves time and resources, it also leads to a better patient experience by increasing the likelihood of eligibility for a trial. One key way to achieve streamlined recruitment efforts is to work with a company who has developed multi-trial matching technology.

To learn more about how Antidote is driving innovative patient recruitment, download our precision recruitment whitepaper below.