Does Your Recruitment Strategy Need Re-Routing? 4 Questions to Ask

Does your recruitment strategy need re-routing?

Does Your Recruitment Strategy Need Re-Routing? 4 Questions to Ask

Our Roadmap to Recruitment series will help you navigate the patient recruitment roadblocks often found during the summer months. Click the links at the end of the post to follow the rest of the series.

I moved to Boston recently, and I’m still figuring out the lay of the land. Even when I’m sure of my destination, my app usually re-routes me and I sometimes find a shorter way to get there.

The same can be said for clinical trial recruitment strategies.  In the summer months, we find that a lot of our clients are re-assessing. How is the study tracking to its milestones? What goals have been communicated to senior management?

Will you get there – to your destination – with your current strategy? Research shows that up to 80% of studies fail to achieve enrollment on time1.  If this statistic rings true for your study, here are some questions you may want to ask:

  1. Why aren’t study sites enrolling patients?
    This seems like a fairly obvious question. Still, it’s important to gather feedback from sites directly regarding the most common hurdles to patient enrollment. At UBC we do this in a  number of ways – through referral metrics and reporting, 1:1 site assessments, site surveys and investigator dinners, to name a few.  When tracking the reasons for disqualification, common themes emerge – maybe there are one or two eligibility criteria that are prohibitive to enrollment. Other times, it’s a factor that may not appear in metrics, like a procedure in the study screening that requires a specialist that is not on staff at most sites.
  2. Why are patients declining participation in your study?
    Consider this part two of the above question. Patient-centricity is a buzz word in clinical trials – does your protocol take into account the experience of the enrolled patient? We have worked with sponsors that, after putting concierge services in place with UBC, had an increase in enrollment in pediatric studies. By removing the logistics and burden of travel on the parents, they were more inclined to enroll their child in the study. Think of each step of your protocol from the patient perspective. Ideally, this occurs before first patient in and involves feedback from the patient and caregiver community. At UBC we have gathered protocol feedback from study stakeholders using qualitative testing methodology. Much can be learned with even a small sample size.
  3. Do you need to cut your losses?
    Being focused on patient recruitment, our team is constantly evaluating our spend and tactics. What’s working? Do we need to change our strategy? Advertising is a good example. We evaluate referral, screening, and randomization metrics on a site and market basis to identify the best return for the media spend. Real-time analytics allow us to be nimble with our online advertising and social media strategy. But the analysis must go beyond advertising. What is having an impact on enrollment and retention in your study? It may be local outreach efforts, like free memory testing for patients at risk of Alzheimer’s, which drive referrals to a study center. Or perhaps patients are enrolling in the study, but not compliant with follow-up visits. Are home health nursing visits the solution to collect necessary labs and keep your patients in the study?
  4. Where will you get the most bang for your buck? 
    Recruitment budgets are limited, and all sites are not created equal. Some sites are well equipped and capable of meeting enrollment goals with little to no outside support. Others can achieve enrollment goals with outside referrals, and still other sites will never enroll a patient, even with support. When supporting recruitment activities, we often tier the sites. We evaluate which sites have the greatest potential to enroll, based on things like performance to date, the site profile, available resources, and engagement in the study. We concentrate efforts on sites that will yield the greatest enrollment for the funds allocated.  How do we do that? Check out the next blog in our summer recruitment series, learn more about our Patient & Physician Recruitment & Retention solutions, or contact us to set up a meeting.

If you missed the earlier posts in our Roadmap to Recruitment Summer Blog Series, catch up here.

Roadmap to Recruitment

1.Kremidas, J. (2011, September 1). Recruitment Roles: Sponsors, CROs, and investigator sites. Retrieved September 30, 2014, from Applied Clinical Trials Online