The Next Phase of Faster Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment

For years, clinical trial patient recruitment has looked the same: identify eligibility criteria for a single trial, conduct traditional media outreach, screen patients for that trial, and hope for the best. Increasingly, however, sponsors have been turning to technology, getting more specific in their outreach and therefore becoming more successful in their recruiting not just for one trial, but for their entire program.

Digital outreach certainly has its benefits:

  • Today’s ad platforms allow you to see who has interacted with your content, and you can retarget those patients who interact but do not reach out to find out more about your trial. This retargeting is typically far more precise than a first round of digital marketing.

  • You’re able to test messaging to discover what words and phrases resonate with your audience — and therefore what copy will compel more patients to sign up for your trial.

  • You can reach large groups of targeted patients by telling the platform you’re using exactly the type of patients that you think would be most interested in your trial.

  • You can diversify your outreach, leveraging various social media channels, as well as digital ads on websites that you believe potential patients may be visiting.

There’s still a problem, though. Single trial recruitment, even when bolstered by expertly targeted digital marketing, can still have in a high screen fail rate. And when the narrow eligibility criteria renders a patient ineligible, a survey reveals that 63% patients do nothing or decide not to participate in research. Sponsors have wasted money and time on marketing to and screening an ineligible patient, and patients have wasted time being screened for a trial in which they cannot take part. This is where program-level recruitment can make a difference.

Program-level recruitment consists of screening one patient for multiple trials at a time through the use of logic-based technology. An asthma patient sees an ad for a trial, then answers an online questionnaire that helps direct them into one of several asthma trials being run by the same sponsor. This approach has three important benefits:

  • Recruitment happens much more quickly because patients are more likely to be eligible.

  • The sponsor saves money by consolidating their marketing efforts into just one campaign

  • Patients have a more satisfying experience due to having a far greater chance of eligibility

At Antidote, this program-level recruitment happens by harnessing our Match technology and applying it to a particular study program. As patients answer the Match questions, their eligibility is narrowed down until it is determined which trial in the program will be a match for them. In our case, we’ve been able to exceed randomization targets using this approach.

In a conservative industry, the adoption of technology can be slow. But we’ve seen it work in digital marketing for clinical trial patient recruitment, and we feel confident that program-level trial matching is the next important application of technology to clinical trial patient recruitment.