How to Save Time on Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment

More than 80% of clinical trials don't reach their recruitment deadlines, and 16% close early due to recruitment issues. Accelerating patient recruitment can allow your trial to beat deadlines and bring your treatment to market faster.

Of course, speeding up a cumbersome process is easier said than done. Working with a clinical trial patient recruitment company that takes care of some of the most challenging parts of recruitment, including pre-screening patients and automating follow up, can help you reach your goals as quickly as possible. Consider these services as you investigate your options:

Work with a patient recruitment company to screen out unqualified patients early on.

As clinical trials have become more complex, so have inclusion and exclusion criteria for participants. For example, trials may require specific blood test results or other qualifying factors that patients are unlikely to know themselves. While a patient may expect to qualify for your trial based on listed criteria, they may ultimately be found ineligible after intake at research sites – a costly process that can slow down your recruitment efforts. Connecting with a patient recruitment company that has access to specific patient data can help. For example, Antidote has teamed up with PWN to provide trial sponsors with lab-verified referrals. Verified referrals also help study sites save time by reducing the number of screenings conducted at the research sites themselves.

Develop a smart prescreener.

Creating a prescreener for your trial can help identify potentially qualified patients early in the process. It's important, however, to strike a balance between a detailed prescreener that captures important information, and one that's too complex or burdensome for patients to complete. For example, we've found that while certain Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) scores are inclusion criteria for many Alzheimer's disease trials, most patients don't know theirs, if they've had the test done to begin with. When this question has been included in our clinical trial search tool, the vast majority of patients skip it or even abandon the questionnaire upon reaching it. Work with a recruitment company that has specific experience in your therapeutic area to ensure you're asking the right questions to find patients who are good fit for your trial – without losing their interest.

Automate how you follow-up with patients.

One benefit of digital advertising for clinical trial patient recruitment is that digital tools make it easy to follow up with patients who don't immediately complete the action needed to move forward with your trial. For example, patient recruitment companies can also automatically email or text patients if they miss a follow-up call. This method saves time compared with reaching out to patients in a database, where sites may not have the most updated contact information or methods of contacting patients.

Work with partners to connect with informed patients.

Reaching out to patients through patient advocacy groups and health nonprofits can help ensure that patients are well informed about clinical research before taking the first step to participate. We worked with several disease nonprofit partners to survey patients about their knowledge of and attitudes toward clinical trials. In our survey, 75% of patients answered either 8 out of 8 or 7 out of 8 questions about clinical research correctly. Nonprofit organizations help educate patients about the importance of medical research and the role clinical trials play, and give patients more context about what it means to participate. Working with partners can speed recruitment by providing patient education and reducing the number of referrals who are less informed about clinical trial participation.