Guest Column | October 6, 2016

Three Questions To Ask When Evaluating a Patient Recruitment Plan

Three Questions To Ask When Evaluating a Patient Recruitment Plan

By Betty Ionescu, Source: LeapCure

Today is a big day. Today is the day your clinical protocol is finalized. Your inclusion and exclusion criteria are polished to perfection. Your informed consent form has “IRB APPROVED” stamped on it in big, bold letters. Now is the time to deliver it into the eager hands of eligible patients.

There’s only one problem: you have no idea where to find them.

If you’re like many clinical operations teams, your next step will be to request proposals from various CROs and patient recruitment companies. As part of the RFP process, you will be wowed by flawless presentations, mind blowing case studies and impressive credentials. But how do you determine which provider can *truly* deliver on their promises?

When evaluating any patient recruitment plan, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Is the recruitment plan diversified?

If you think the traditional site selection process can reliably identify enough patients to meet your enrollment goals, think again. According to recent data, 37 percent of study sites fail to meet their enrollment goals. One in 10 sites fail to enroll a single patient.1

In our competitive enrollment environment, it’s critical to complement traditional site selection efforts with diversified media outreach. A robust patient recruitment plan should always include digital, social and patient advocacy group tactics. If you see one or more of these elements missing, move on. Quickly.

2. Does the plan demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the patient population?

If you can understand how your patient population behaves, you can better target them. Better targeting eliminates wasteful spending on advertising that doesn’t reach the right audience, meaning your recruitment budget will be spent more efficiently and your patients have more opportunities to respond to your call to action.

The right recruitment provider can harness their in-depth research skills to give you significant insights into your target population: where they “live” online, what they Google when they want to learn more about their condition, what medications they may be taking, and even what they had for breakfast (okay, maybe not what they had for breakfast).

The bottom line is that investing in target audience research before launching a digital or social campaign will have an enormous return on investment, thereby expediting patient recruitment. Look for a provider whose plan demonstrates online audience research prowess.

3. Does the plan include advanced patient recruitment technology?

Patient recruitment is a highly competitive field. Pharmaceutical and clinical research companies know how valuable it can be to reach the right patient at the right time. It’s very likely that the patients you seek are targeted by promotional emails, banner ads and social media posts advertising other clinical trials daily.

Look for a company keeping up with the latest advancements in patient recruitment technology. It means you will benefit from the newest platforms available to recruit patients before your competitors do. It also means your study will benefit from software engineers whose sole mission is to make products that are more efficient at meeting their objectives - in this case, identifying and recruiting patients.

If you can answer “yes” to all three of the questions above, it’s safe to say that you have a carefully constructed recruitment plan in your hands. Now, go forth and recruit

Your patients are waiting.

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1Source: Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development http://csdd.tufts.edu/news/complete_story/%20pr_ir_jan-feb_2013