Think Outside of a Site's Database: 10 Ways to Find & Recruit Patients for Your Studies
One of the top places sites look for (and sponsors depend on) when recruiting patients for clinical trials is their database of patients. It has been a go-to method of recruitment for years. In a recent study, however, only 27% of sites report being fully satisfied with their current recruitment methods, including site database searches.1
This is a time-consuming method for study coordinators, who are already stretched thin with all their recruitment responsibilities. Almost a quarter of sites said they spend more than five hours a day recruiting for trials.
To expand the patient search and remove some of the burden faced by site teams, we have identified other ways to find and recruit patients for your studies – and CSSi can manage the entire process for you and your sites.
- In-Office Material Referrals - Many potential study candidates may go through a physician's office without knowing about a study. Develop materials that can be posted around the waiting room and exam rooms to alert and educate potential patients about this trial.
- Community Surrounding a Site – Identify all avenues (health events/fairs, community centers, speaking opportunities, lunch and learns, etc.) for outreach within each site's community that potential study patient and/or their families may attend or visit. Share educational study materials at these locations for potential patients to take with them.
- Medical Professional Networks – Use a site's existing network of referring physicians and build onto this list with physicians or medical professionals that see this study patient at their practice. Medical professionals also include any professional that may interact with the patient you are looking for. These professionals are always looking for better health options for their patients. Make sure you provide information about the study (I/E criteria) and how to best get in touch with you.
- Patient Advocacy & National Awareness Groups - Build relationships with national organizations and patient advocacy groups, who can share your study information with those who have joined their groups.
- Social Media – Research support groups on social media platforms that potential patients within your indication may join to learn more information or find treatment options. If allowed by the group administrator, you can post your study information to educate the group members about another option open to them.
- Craigslist – Have your sites post your IRB-approved study information on Craigslist in their area. Using the "volunteer" section is a free tool available to them, and one more way to raise awareness of the study in their community.
- Pay-Per-Click Advertising – Use search engine advertising (like Google Ads or Bing Ads) to place your study in front of potential study patients already looking for information related to their condition. You can drive your ads to your study website, where these potential patients can complete an online pre-screener to determine their initial eligibility.
- Traditional Advertising – Use billboards, radio ads, tv ads, print ads, and other traditional advertising options to share your study information in the site's surrounding area.
- OTT (Over the Top) and Video-On-Demand Advertising – Many people have moved away from watching tv shows right when they come on. Streaming devices like ROKU, as well as video-on-demand services are growing methods of media consumption. Save some of your advertising budget to place study advertisements on these platforms.
- Online Forums and Blogs – 80% of people look online for health information – and that includes health forums and blogs. Look up ones that are specific to your study's indication and share your study information on these pages.
As you identify where you should find your patients, you first need to know your patient population and those people who influence the patient to participate. This will help in your recruitment strategy. It's important to work inside – out. Start with recruitment activities in and around the site. These activities will focus on people you already know and who are familiar with you. The patients you find in this way will be your most compliant and cheapest patients. From there, work out into the community and through the other options listed above.
Once you get these methods up and running, continuously monitor your results to identify which methods are working the best. If you find digital advertising is working better than radio advertising, for example, adjust your budget to pull some money out of radio and add it to your digital advertising campaign instead. You'll see a better ROI if you measure your results and adjust your strategy along the way.
Interested in implementing these recruitment options for your study, but you aren't sure if your sites will have the time? Our Local Enrollment Specialists can work as an extension of the site's study team to roll out these methods on their behalf. Contact us to learn more!