6 Patient Outreach Tips for Clinical Research Sites

Many clinical research sites have a database of patients to contact about clinical trial opportunities. Your site may also work with clinical trial patient recruitment companies to receive contact information from patients who are interested in taking part in a trial.

It may feel like getting patient contact information is the tricky part, but once you have those email addresses or phone numbers, it's important to make a strong first impression for your site when you reach out.

By thinking about your trial opportunity from the perspective of the patient, you'll have more success in capturing their interest and taking them toward the next step. These best practices can help your research site put your best foot forward when reaching out to patient contacts.

1. Reach out to new contacts as soon as you can. If you're working with a patient recruitment company or receiving patient contacts through your own outreach, contact patients within a few hours, if you can. That way, you'll make the connection when the patient is feeling the most engaged in their search for clinical trials. Sometimes, patients aren't sure what to expect from a clinical trial. Be personable and let patients know that they will be working with real people who are available to answer questions and concerns.

2. Call three times. We recommend calling the patient three times, ideally at different times of day, to try and get in touch about the trial. If you're leaving a voicemail, leave your site's contact information, but don't give too many details about the trial. By speaking directly with the patient about the trial, you can answer questions and potentially share other trial opportunities for which they may qualify.

3. Send a few emails, too. At Antidote, our patients sign up to hear about trial opportunities online, and are accustomed to digital communications. You may have more success in reaching a patient over email first. You may include an introduction to your site and the trials you are recruiting for, though we recommend against sharing specific details about particular studies. It's generally best to speak with the patient on the phone about specifics in case they have questions. However, you can coordinate a time to talk to the patient on the phone that works for them.

4. Share the benefits of joining the trial. According to research conducted by CISCRP, there are a few key benefits of taking part in a trial that matter to patients. Of course, these benefits can vary by condition area, too. Share the benefits of taking part in the study when you talk on the phone to patients. You can also ask why the patient is interested in participating, and then align the benefits you share with what's important to them.

From the patient perspective, benefits of participating may include:

  • Helping science and researchers
  • Helping others with their condition in the future
  • Receiving high-quality care from experts in the field
  • Learning more about their condition
  • Financial compensation, if available
5. Let patients know about the details that matter to them. In addition to sharing potential benefits of taking part in the trial, it's also important to let patients know about the basic logistics of taking part. Be sure to share:
  • Where your site is located
  • The goal of the study
  • The schedule of the study
  • Whether or not a placebo will be used

6. Keep patients in mind for other opportunities, too. Even if you're hoping to enroll the patient in a particular trial, if they're not the right fit, share other trial opportunities currently at your site, or make a note to reach out to them about other trials in the future. Patients who are actively interested in clinical trial participation are a valuable resource – don't lose an interested patient for good if a specific trial isn't right for them.

Looking for more patients for your trial? Download our free recruitment template for guidance on getting the most out of your campaign.