CSSi Blogs

Post-COVID-19 Patient Recruitment: Dealing with the Aftermath

  • By Myra Zerr-Korolev
  • 02-Jun-2021

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Clinical trial recruitment has been understandingly difficult for the past fifteen months. Isolation and quarantine have kept patients (not to mention site and trial staff) from being able to undergo appropriate screening and enrollment measures. Because of this immense issue, many trials have been paused (or worse, stopped all together). Now that the world is reopening and taking a sigh of apprehensive relief, how do we get back on track to begin moving full steam ahead for patient recruitment?

The CDC has recently announced the laxing of many COVID-19 restrictions, including vaccinated individuals no longer requiring masks and indoor/outdoor capacity maximums increasing. While this is a positive move forward as the world gets a better handle on the pandemic, there are still apprehensions and concerns on the forefront of everyone’s minds. Is this really safe? Should we actually return to the normalcy of pre-COVID? Are sites set up to handle the world opening back up?

Recruitment Concerns at the Site Level

Addressing these concerns as a site is difficult, demonstrated by global clinical trial completion rates dropping to 13-23%1. Managing multiple trials and recruitment efforts even before the pandemic was quite a task for study coordinators, and this new pile of issues being thrown at them today makes things even more difficult. Studies are opening back up at once and sites are struggling to balance them all. Study coordinators and PIs desperately need a strong support system to overcome these hurdles, as many sites face the staffing losses they experienced throughout the pandemic.

Impact of COVID-19 on new subject enrollment in clinical trials stat table graphic2

Increasing Recruitment and Enrollment Numbers Post-COVID-19

This shift back to a new normal has many sites and sponsors wondering what they should do to get their studies back on track. If you find yourself falling into this category, know that you aren’t alone. Over the past few months, our team has seen similar challenges across all studies we are supporting:

  • •     sites are struggling to find the time to recruit for all of their studies
  • •     patients are hesitant to come into the office for their visits
  • •     some sites are still working remotely and unable to see patients

To overcome these challenges, CSSi has helped our clients focus on the following:

  • •     providing a resource to the sites that can assist with all recruitment tasks (either remotely or on-site)
  • •     speaking with patients about the COVID protocols in place at each site to ensure their safety is a top priority (mask wearing, disinfecting, social distancing, etc.)
  • •     pre-recruiting patients and staying connected with interested individuals until sites open back up for screening and study visits

Dedicated Recruitment Support Through CSSi

One of the biggest challenges that we are seeing is the lack of resources at the site level to dedicate to patient recruitment– both in staff and time. Study coordinators are juggling many studies all re-opening at once and their attention is getting pulled in many directions. Sites need a dedicated resource to help them manage recruitment efforts for their studies.

CSSi is prepared to address the evolving patient recruitment support needed for both domestic and international clinical trials. Our full-service model provides a suite of services to make your study top-of-mind and answer the recruitment needs of all sites: patient and physician-facing recruitment material development, study website and pre-screener development, digital/social media and traditional advertising placement, and customized site support by our Local Enrollment Specialists. Our LES team can assist with referral management (patient follow-up, secondary patient pre-screening, study visit scheduling, reminder calls and more), chart reviews, medical professional outreach, community awareness, and advocacy outreach. We are set up to either provide a full-service program for your studies or use a plug and play model to fill in any gaps to your current recruitment strategy. Our ultimate goal is to make your study a priority at each site we support and to ease the recruitment burden on the study coordinator, so their attention can be devoted to other important study tasks.

Setting your sites up with support from CSSi will lead to an increase in site engagement, study interest and referrals/randomized patients. We understand the challenges facing researchers and clinical sites today no longer mirror the world fifteen months ago, and our team is prepared to provide the solutions you need to overcome them.

If your studies and sites are significantly affected by the pandemic and need support, reach out to CSSi today.

1https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/04/210407174310.htm

2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7538012/

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The Magic of Marketing: Creating the Perfect Patient Recruitment Solution

  • By Myra Zerr-Korolev
  • 13-Oct-2021

Marketing and advertising are an art form. And as is true of all art, it evolves and adapts to the world around it (And enter the famous question: Does art imitate life or does life imitate art?). Reaching patients for clinical trials is quite a task. Creating awareness, providing education, and garnering true interest is a multi-pronged approach that requires an in-depth understanding of the needs and communication styles of your targeted population.

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Rebuilding Trust in Clinical Trials: Diverse Patient Recruitment

  • By Myra Zerr-Korolev
  • 03-Aug-2021

The health and well-being of all persons regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, or gender is integral to public health. As a nation, the United States is slowly improving and becoming self-aware of the maladaptive behavior towards its minority citizens both past and present.

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Post-COVID-19 Patient Recruitment: Dealing with the Aftermath

  • By Myra Zerr-Korolev
  • 02-Jun-2021

Clinical trial recruitment has been understandingly difficult for the past fifteen months. Isolation and quarantine have kept patients (not to mention site and trial staff) from being able to undergo appropriate screening and enrollment measures. Because of this immense issue, many trials have been paused (or worse, stopped all together).

Read More
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The 24-Hour Window: Responding to Your Referrals Before They Lose Interest

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 03-Sep-2020

Patient recruitment is often a time-consuming and high-cost step in completing your clinical trials. Your marketing team will have to develop the correct study message and a strong call-to-action to get people motivated to see if they prequalify. You must strategically target your patient population and generate interest in participation among this audience.

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Recruiting for Trials During a Global Pandemic

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 16-Apr-2020

The COVID-19 virus has significantly changed the way the world operates. It has caused unprecedented interruptions to many industries and businesses around the globe, and clinical trials are no exception. New guidelines have been issued by the FDA regarding clinical trials, which could have a significant impact on study enrollment and patient retention.

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Don’t Put All Your Recruitment Eggs in One Basket

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 12-Mar-2020

As you begin the patient recruitment process for your study, it can be tempting to put all of your money towards one method. You place all bets on digital advertising because that generated the most referrals during your last study. What happens if digital doesn’t perform for you this time? It’s best to spread your advertising budget out over a number of recruitment methods. This gives you the ability to truly test what is most effective.

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Answering the Lack of Diversity in Clinical Trials

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 15-Nov-2019

Identifying and implementing ways to increase diversity in clinical trials is a growing topic in the industry. Almost 40 percent of Americans belong to a racial or ethnic minority, but roughly 80-90 percent of participants in clinical trials for new drugs are still disproportionately Caucasian.1

In order to make sure drugs and treatments are safe and reliable to all people, there needs to be a better representation

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New Advertising Options for Patient Recruitment: Are they on your radar?

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 29-Aug-2019

We all see others do it, and we probably experience it ourselves it every day.

Watching videos and tv shows on devices other than the TV in the family room, catching up on your favorite sitcom on-demand because you weren't home to watch it at 8pm when it originally aired, or streaming videos on YouTube to pass time. As the years go by, technology and media are changing – and so is how we are using them.

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Understanding & Removing the Barriers to Patient Retention

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 14-Aug-2019

Each year, $1.89 billion is spent on patient recruitment for clinical trials.1 With a 30% average dropout rate across all clinical trials, many pharmaceutical companies are spending a large amount of money to recruit patients who aren't staying enrolled in their trials.

Needed study data for regulatory submission and the overall success of a clinical trial depend largely on study participants fulfilling their roles and responsibilities until the very last day.

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CSSi Celebrates 14 Years as a Full-Service Patient Recruitment Agency

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 11-Apr-2019

As a sponsor, CRO or site, there are a surplus of patient recruitment companies you can turn to when you need help finding patients for your studies, and that number grows higher every day. Most of these companies offer a niche service, but very few are a full-service, global recruitment agency like ours.

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Traditional Advertising Is Still Alive

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 01-Apr-2019

We've all heard it before: "traditional advertising is dead." But if that were true, why are we still seeing commercials on TV, hearing ads on the radio, and seeing billboards on the highway during our morning commute?

Because it's not true! Traditional advertising is still very much alive and used by some of the largest companies worldwide.

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Eight-Step Guide to a Strong Clinical Trial Website

  • By Gabrielle St Remy
  • 05-Feb-2019

There are about 93 million Americans searching online for information related to a health-related topic, with 63% of those individuals looking up a specific disease or medical problem. In fact, looking for health or medical information comes high on the list as one of the most popular activities people do when they are online.

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Clinical Trial Branding: Why is it so Important?

  • By Clara Hughes, Creative Director
  • 25-Jan-2019

Let's imagine two different scenarios:
A: You're sitting in a doctor's office, and you see a poster for ACN-053-2414, a clinical trial testing medication for acne in adults.
B: You're sitting in a doctor's office, and you see a poster for the Face It Acne Research Study, a clinical trial testing medication for acne in adults.

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