What to consider when choosing clinical trial matching software

Clinical trial patient recruitment software can help trial sponsors and research sites connect with patients for clinical trials and track their enrollment into a study. It is a rapidly evolving technology that makes it easier than ever to connect with patients.

Patient recruitment software comes in a few different formats. Some tools allow for sponsors to work directly with clinical trial software companies to help match patients with clinical trials, which can in turn help drive patient recruitment. Other tools are self-service platforms that provide access to relevant health data points to pinpoint potentially eligible patients.

As you research software options, consider the particular needs of your trial team, your existing software setup, and of course, your budget. We’ve outlined a few key considerations when deciding on the right clinical trial matching software for your trial.

How does clinical trial matching software work? 

Clinical trial matching software, such as Antidote’s Match tool, allows patients to find research they may qualify for by answering simple questions about their medical history and basic demographics. 

Everyone has access to clinical trials listings via ClinicalTrials.gov, where you can see eligibility criteria, published in a free-form text format. However, due to the increasingly complex nature of inclusion and exclusion criteria, it has become more difficult than ever for the lay public to navigate clinical trial listings on their own. Listings on ClinicalTrials.gov are designed for researchers, and most patients can’t understand medical jargon. According to a study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, only 12% of Americans are “health literate." This means that many individuals struggle to understand things like dosage amounts, consent forms, acronyms, and other common forms of medical jargon found in ClinicalTrials.gov listings. 

The most sophisticated clinical trial matching tools work by structuring the inclusion and exclusion criteria in clinical trial listings and matching them against a patient’s responses. Antidote’s clinical trial matching engine uses structured data and proprietary algorithms to explore a patient’s eligibility for every trial. Matching software may also take into account the patient’s location and how far they’re willing to travel. And, many matching softwares will present the data in a way that is user-friendly and easy to comprehend. 

The end goal of clinical trial matching software is to take complex information included in a trial listing and translate it into a tool as easy to use as the search tools we use in our daily lives.

How does matching software go hand-in-hand with patient recruitment? 

Patients may find themselves using a clinical trial matching tool through a variety of avenues, including direct links from digital advertisements on social media platforms, patient advocacy group websites, paid search campaigns, and via other more traditional channels, like flyers and primary care physicians. Knowing exactly which source patients come from can help you better understand your patient population and may suggest how responsive they will be to supplemental outreach. 

Some companies may offer a SaaS model that would allow a subscription to their clinical trial patient matching and recruitment technology. For example, Antidote works with sponsors to create a matching experience for a select group of studies (or all of their studies) with a product called Match Enterprise. Since inclusion and exclusion criteria are different for every trial, a patient who isn’t qualified for one trial might be a candidate for another. Prescreeners powered by clinical trial matching software allow sponsors to evaluate patients’ eligibility against multiple trials in their portfolio. This approach can help accelerate clinical trial recruitment for sponsors running more than one trial in a given condition area.

What does the software look like in action? 

Most companies will offer to demo the software so you can get a sense of how it works for actual users. Watch to see how intuitive the tool is to use and what analytics the platform offers. Be sure to assess how the software works on desktops, mobile devices, and on a variety of browsers. 

If the software isn’t an exact match, you may be able to work with a different vendor to customize a clinical trial recruitment tool for your website. For example, a clinical trial search tool specific to your trials makes it easy for patients to search through all of the studies you’re currently recruiting for. You can improve the patient search experience – and make it more likely that qualified patients will find your studies – by adding additional screening questions to your matching software. 

How does the matching software integrate with other clinical trial technology? 

Clinical research sponsors and their sites use a variety of tech to run a clinical trial. During the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically in 2020 and 2021, clinical trial teams added even more remote patient engagement technology to their repertoires. According to WCG Clinical, 95% of research sites now offer telemedicine visits, 94% use electronic patient diaries, and 91% use electronic informed consent documents. 

Are the tools and softwares self-service or will sponsors have support from the company throughout the trial? You should ask about the setup process and whether you’ll need the support of your IT team for help integrating with other technologies and your initial setup.

Consider how your existing technology would work together with the matching software, and whether your new software could supplant any of your current systems.

How does payment work? 

Many software options today use a subscription model. Sponsors may pay for service for a full year or from month to month. Other software options are pay-for-performance, asking for payment only when patients enroll. Ask about the details of how payment works and if refunds or replacements are offered for low-quality referrals.

Don’t know where to start? A clinical trial recruitment company is a good option. Clinical trial recruitment companies can provide and help you understand recruitment software, and supplement that software through social media and paid search campaigns, pre-screeners, and educational content, all with the end goal of speeding up recruitment efforts.