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How to lessen site burden with a targeted patient recruitment strategy


Picture this: you’ve created your patient recruitment strategy and you find more and more patients are undertaking the pre-screening, you probably think – success! But then you find out, getting too many patients to sign up could actually hinder the process.


Sounds ironic, doesn’t it? You try so hard to increase patient enrolment, yet when the numbers start to rise, the outcome could be the opposite of your intention.


Research suggests that clinical trial study sites struggle to keep up with the referrals they get from patient recruitment campaigns, with one-third never being processed. So, while you should continue to work hard to get patients onto clinical trials with creative campaigns, let’s think about the burden on sites. We’re sure there’s plenty of things that we can do to help for this to be a win-win situation.


The current challenge: too many can be as bad as too few

It turns out, while patient recruitment campaigns are great at driving large numbers of potential participants to sites, an overwhelming response can be as bad as having too few patients. Why? Because clinical trial study sites have limited resources to manage the referrals when there’s such a large volume, and this can ultimately delay the clinical trial.


Not only do they have limited capacity to process such a large number of referrals, it can sometimes be like finding a needle in a haystack when trying to find the patients who actually qualify. And as the numbers start to get bigger, potential participants can get missed: the pre-screening process can start to get sloppy and potential participants could lose interest because they’re not receiving quick follow-up calls. Plus, while the sites are processing the referrals from patient recruitment campaigns, they could be missing out on potential participants from their own database too.


The solution: targeted patient recruitment campaigns and better pre-screening

Fear not – this doesn’t mean you have to turn back the clock and dismiss the idea of recruitment campaigns. It’s important to still work on improving patient recruitment; there’s just some extra steps to take to make sure you’re getting the right patients.

It all comes down to having a targeted patient recruitment campaign and better pre-screening.


So, first up, to create a more targeted patient recruitment campaign, you need to know more about the patient population. Learning more about patients’ experiences, and their needs, can help to ensure the ads are relevant to them, and that way it’s clear who the clinical trial is for from the get-go.


Next, as potential participants start to respond to the ads, you need to make sure only highly qualified patients reach the clinical trial site. To do this, a more thorough pre-screening process is needed – like using both a pre-screening questionnaire and a telephone pre-screening. That way, it’s less likely that you’ll be wasting a patient’s time who may not be suitable for the clinical trial, or a site’s time either.


Overall, the process could look a little something like this:


Gain patient insights –> create a targeted recruitment campaign –> conduct pre-qualifying questionnaire –> telephone pre-screening –> refer high-qualifying patients to the clinical trial study site.


So, it all starts with gaining insights to create a targeted recruitment campaign. Need help putting this into action? Take a look at how COUCH Health can support you, here.

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