Patient recruitment in clinical trials is usually done by a patient recruitment service provider to boost entry of more patients into clinical trials. The industry of patient recruitment is considered a billion dollar industry which is a translation of its success due to high demand. The demand for patients for clinical tests has been steadily growing. Pharmaceutical companies as well as medical device manufacturers are very eager to improve patient recruitment rates, to cut duration or the time to study and to market a new drug or medical product.
However, patient enrollment is not a simple procedure and is considered the most time consuming part of the clinical trial process. Patient recruitment has also been the number one culprit on why clinical trial guidelines are not met.
Patient recruitment service providers
The role of patient recruitment service providers in patient recruitment in clinical trials is very important. The recruitment process involves educating the public about the importance of participation in clinical trials and at the same time informing the recruits about how to protect themselves during the clinical trials.
Patient recruitment in clinical trials started about 30 years ago in the US to hasten patient enrollment and providers have rapidly grown through the years due to increasing demand not only in the US but globally. Patient recruiting institutions have also increased awareness in clinical trial opportunities to encourage enrollment.
Targeting patient population prior to recruitment
Patient recruitment in clinical trials initially involve feasibility studies to find out how effective their recruitment strategy will go through within a certain country. A certain patient population is targeted before selecting a recruitment site. Participating sites are investigated for clinical experience as well as operational capabilities to determine what support they need to be successful in recruiting clinical trial individuals.
Site training and pre-screening
The necessary recruitment materials such as letters, brochures and posters are then prepared. The support of the local media is also sought to improve recruitment rate. Site training materials are also carefully selected to reliably assist staff in guiding and information the patients. A website should also be in place to provide clinical trials information and also for pre-screening purposes.
Referral and follow-up system
An efficient patient referral or follow up system should also be in place particularly to patients who may pose a challenge such as proximity to trial site.
A networking system such as a health fair or those organized by community service groups can be part of a community outreach program. The help of physicians to reach prospective patients can also be useful.
Monitoring for successful patient recruitment
To ensure recruitment success and maximum return of investment, continuous monitoring and assessment of patient recruitment and enrollment activities should be done.