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Patient recruitment is key to the success of a clinical trial. Clinical Patient Recruitment (CPR) plays a significant role in clinical research (CR), resulting in many new and improved therapies for patients.
FREMONT, CA: Numerous things can go wrong during clinical trial patient recruitment, resulting in delays in up to 80% of clinical trials. From failing sites to unresponsive patients, there are explanations to the most common patient recruitment challenges that can assist in expediting the trial and ultimately meeting the deadlines. Following are some detailed strategies if recruitment issues are compromising the success of a clinical trial.
Problem: When the research sites are performing poorly.
Solution: Broadening the methods of patient recruitment.
Clinical trial recruitment rate calculations rarely address site-level challenges. Nearly half of all clinical trial sites are under-enrolled, and, in the worst cases, 11% of the areas in a given trial do not enroll a single patient. Even with an effective site selection process, unforeseen site issues can slow recruitment. Updated databases may have outdated and unusable contact information. Competition from other near-site tests can also damage site performance. Diversifying the recruitment approach early on is essential. Researchers need to identify clinical trial recruitment companies interested in working with, and engage with, digital advertising or partnership opportunities before underperforming sites. Trial teams can beat their timelines from a diverse approach.
Problem: The patients referred are not eligible for the study.
Solution: Partnering with a recruiter who has access to more detailed data.
Complexity increases in clinical trial protocols. For example, researchers may search for patients with specific laboratory values based on blood tests. This typically means that research sites screen fewer patients, resulting in delays in recruitment and making goals more challenging. Researchers partner with a patient recruitment company with access to additional data layers beyond diagnosis to accelerate the process of identifying patients who meet complex eligibility criteria. Knowing what medicines patients take or even recent blood test results can connect with suitable patients more accessible. Having a laboratory partner to help with recruitment enhances the patient experience, reduces the burden of participation, and increases patients’ quality on the sites.
Problem: Patients are unresponsive before they ever reach the research sites.
Solution: Patient support and site follow-up.
Even if a patient is interested in the trial, there are still many opportunities to lose contact, from learning about the attempt to randomizing. Patients may miss an email or phone call or cannot attend an additional site visit. Reaching potential patients and conducting site screening keeps staff busy enough, and finding time for follow-up with radar-fallen patients can be challenging. Working with a recruitment agency that also provides the site and patient follow-up services assists researchers move forward. Automated digital advertising follow-ups, emails, calls, and text messages provide patients with multiple opportunities to set up site visits.