Use Your Summer Slowdown to Boost Fall Recruitment

Maximize summer slow-down to jumpstart fall recruitment

Use Your Summer Slowdown to Boost Fall Recruitment

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.

In my previous post, I discussed ways to navigate some of the roadblocks that may impede your ability to enrol patients during the summer months. With those strategies firmly in place, it’s important to take advantage of a slow-down in activities to plan for the future. Use any downtime during summer to plan ahead for your enrolment push in September and into the following year.

  1. Better Vendor Engagement
    Which services could be improved? Which services would be valued by participants but are not currently provided? Transportation? Study nurses? Faster payments? Better information? Sometimes the answers are not always in-house and you may have to look externally. Take the time to explore new vendors, evaluate their services and execute on new initiatives. Check that costs and set-up timelines are within tolerance for the study and that any potential changes are of benefit to participants and the sites.
  2. Better Site Engagement
    How will you energise your sites when everyone returns from the holiday? What can you do to help your sites move from adequate enrollers to great enrollers? Before the summer kicks in, consult with your sites to identify the barriers they are facing and what could be changed to make their role easier. Then make it your mission to solve it during the summer. As a former patient recruitment manager at a research site, I can tell you from first-hand experience that if you can make adjustments to improve sites workflow processes in direct response to their feedback, they will appreciate it. They will also put in more effort to go the extra mile for your study. September is a great time to hold Primary Investigator (PI) meetings, launch new initiatives and push out new information. Start off September on a positive note with your sites – rekindle interest among those sites who may have lost enthusiasm and build on the enthusiasm of your best performing locations.
  3. Better Participant Engagement
    If your enrolment rate is off-track with all sites in place even before the summer begins , it may be time for a health check for your study. There is no better place to start than with your participants. Ideally, patient groups should be involved during the feasibility and planning phase of every clinical study – but it’s never too late. When we conduct market research exercises with patient groups and healthcare professionals, I’m always astounded at how many different ways they can interpret the information our industry pushes out to them. We as researchers think we know best, but often our communications and our own perceptions are out of sync with the people that matter the most – the participants. Summer can be an excellent time to collect and begin to act on feedback from participants and those who chose to decline or withdraw. What you hear back will not always be music to your ears, but if you are prepared to listen and implement some of the lessons learned from your participants, you can help your study to be patient-friendly, maximise enrolment and boost retention.

UBC’s Patient & Physician Recruitment & Retention team is expert at qualitative research, and has conducted upwards of 900 interviews across more than 65 studies. Learn how you can gain patient input on your next protocol.


Roadmap to Recruitment