What Do Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment Companies Do?

Clinical trial patient recruitment companies work with study project teams to identify opportunities and challenges for recruiting and retaining patients, then implement a strategy to find patients for particular trials.

Agencies may work with research sites or directly with pharmaceutical companies to find patients for a clinical trial. They use a variety of outreach approaches to connect with patients, including digital advertising, patient databases, relationships with patient organizations, connections with physicians, and print advertising.

When different recruitment companies compete for your business, they’ll share what makes their approaches effective and what sets them apart from the competition. If you’re considering working with a patient recruitment company for your trial, it can be helpful to know what goes on in the day-to-day operations at a typical company. We also put together a list of 10 questions to ask recruitment companies you’re considering working with before making a decision.

A day in the life at a patient recruitment company

A typical day at a patient recruitment company may involve patient research, campaign optimization, launching new campaigns, and connecting with clients about how their campaigns are running.

Conducting patient research: Researching the patient population for a new trial is one of the most important steps in creating a successful campaign. Research can include working with patient organizations, spending time in online patient communities, and taking a close look at what worked and what didn’t in past campaigns.

Developing outreach materials: Recruitment companies often have in-house marketing teams that put together outreach materials for a trial. Before submitting the team’s copy and designs to your Institutional Review Board (IRB), it’s a good idea for those running the study to review them, as well, for any red flags you know your IRB has taken issue with in the past. This can help streamline your submission process.

Launching new campaigns and optimizing current ones: After IRB materials have been approved, the next step is for a patient recruitment company to set up campaigns. Depending on what channels the company is using to promote your trial, some pieces may be ready to launch right away, while others may take more time to set up. Once a new campaign has been launched, the work isn’t over. Recruitment teams continue to optimize campaigns, particularly social media and other digital ads, to improve targeting and effectively delegate ad spend.

Reporting for clients: When you decide to work with a patient recruitment company, consider how often you’d like to receive reports from them about your campaign’s progress. A regular reporting schedule can help your team stay on top of how the recruitment company’s campaigns are performing and chime in if you notice issues. Because it can take several weeks for a patient to randomize into a trial, it generally makes sense to give a company enough time to get their campaign off the ground, but don’t hesitate to ask questions throughout the process. Some of the most important metrics to track include the cost per qualified patient, cost per consented patient, and the most common reason patients screen fail.

Download our case studies to get an idea of how Antidote works with hundreds of health organizations to connect patients with research.