Understanding & Removing the Barriers to Patient Retention
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. To increase retention rates across trials, we must first understand the reasons patients are dropping out2.
- Inconvenient location
- Physically unable
- Unclear expectations of role in study
- Lack of appreciation
- Scheduling conflicts
- Forgetting visits
- Non-compliance with study procedures and medication
- Not seeing an improvement in condition
- Overall inconvenience
Once these reasons are understood, study teams can outline steps that can be taken to increase retention rates across trials.
Inconvenient Location - Set a mile radius around the site when initiating recruitment activities. Many times, patients are unwilling to drive more than 30 miles to the site closest to their location.
Physically Unable - Arrange rides for patients (and caregivers) who may be unable to plan their own means of transportation.
Unclear Expectations of Role in Study - Create a guide study teams can use during the ICF discussion, as they are explaining the study and a patient's expectations to them – this ensures all the important information is covered, and the patient is aware of their role and responsibilities during the trial.
Lack of Appreciation - Develop "welcome packages" for patients to receive during their first study visit. Include items that will be useful to them throughout the duration of the study.
Scheduling conflicts - Ensure the study staff is scheduling appointments when they are convenient for the patient and/or their caregiver. Offer evening and weekend study visits if necessary.
Forgetting visits - Enroll participating patients in a retention portal that will alert them to upcoming study visits. If they receive friendly reminders, they will be less likely to miss their scheduled appointments.
Non-compliance with Study Procedures and Medication - Set reminders in the retention portal for medication dosages and other important study procedures. Patients may forget on their own unless reminded in some way.
Not Seeing an Improvement in Condition - Remind patients why their study participation is so important. Educate them on how their involvement could make a difference, and how it may lead to a future treatment option that would not have been possible without their help/commitment to the study.
Overall Inconvenience - When you are designing your protocol, ensure you are minimizing the burdens a patient may face whenever possible. If you can address potential issues from the very beginning, you will increase the likelihood of a patient staying enrolled until the end.
As a full-service patient recruitment agency, CSSi can also help your study team overcome these obstacles to patient retention. We understand how important it is to finish your study on-time, on-budget, and with enough study data for the next steps in your drug development process. Contact us to get started!