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Finding people willing to participate in clinical trials is notoriously difficult due to a rising number of new drugs and a dwindling pool of potential subjects due to saturation in the clinical trial market.
Currently, many trials fail to reach recruitment goals of hundreds (in phases I and II) to thousands of patients (in phase III); as many as 86 percent of clinical trials do not reach recruitment targets within their specified time periods. This is problematic because a failed clinical study can result in huge financial losses and scientific stagnation.
So how do you ensure that your study is a recruitment success?
Before diving in headfirst, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your market – so you have the greatest chance of recruitment success.
This type of research can be quite extensive and may require many phone calls to facilities that may not have this information readily available online. It might be worthwhile to use a healthcare data platform that has all of this information, and more, available in the form of an easy-to-use search engine.
So, you’ve picked a site and physician(s) to help you with your trial. Now, you must begin the process of recruiting patients – but, promoting your trial is more nuanced than ever before. In many cases, you might need to apply commercial marketing concepts to your study. In other words, not only will you need to purchase ad space on subways or on television, but you will also need to start an online campaign. These days, most people find the information they need online, so it’s essential to really dive into a social and digital marketing campaign to make sure you’re hitting your recruitment numbers.
Once you have recruited your participants and your study begins, your work is still not done. Even for trials that get off the ground, patient retention becomes a concern, with an average dropout rate of about 30 percent leaving clinical trial programs. Here are two ways to ensure participant retention: