Patient recruitment and retention is a crucial part of clinical trials. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, approximately 70% of drugs make it past Phase 1, 33% of drugs move past Phase 2, and 25-30% of drugs make it past Phase 3. In other words, very few drugs make it through the clinical research step of the drug development process. What’s the biggest obstacle? Patient recruitment and retention. Around 86% of clinical trials do not reach their patient enrollment timelines.
That’s why working with an experienced agency is so important. While it can be a costly endeavor, not using a recruitment agency can be even more expensive, or worse, lead to a failed clinical trial.
And what’s just as important as investing in the right patient recruitment and retention agency? How to utilize a patient recruitment and retention agency to really optimize your results. Below are four things to consider when working with a vendor for your recruitment and retention needs.
1. Contact referrals as soon as possible.
When a patient completes a pre-qualification form online, their information is sent to our HIPAA compliant patient portal, Clinically Portal. Our clients are able to see the referrals contact information and update their status accordingly over time (contacted or not contacted, enrolled, screen failed, etc.). We’ve seen greater success in enrolling these referrals when they are contacted soon after they submit the form.
2. Set a realistic budget.
What is a realistic budget? That depends on a number of factors — the disease or condition, the number of enrolled patients needed, where the study takes place, whether recruitment and retention is for one research site or across multiple sites.
Additionally, since COVID-19 and the Apple IOS update, paid advertising has become more expensive. For example, Google Advertising costs a minimum of $10,000 to start to see results. It’s important to weigh these factors when setting a budget for patient recruitment and retention. As patient recruiters, we offer our clients and potential clients options, keeping budget, location(s), city population(s), and condition in mind.
3. Connect the patient recruitment and retention agency with the sponsor.
If a research site in a small city needs patients for a rare condition or a condition that is difficult to recruit for (like pediatric eczema), then we suggest working directly with the sponsor. We often work with sponsors and have great success recruiting patients across multiple sites. That’s because running paid advertising campaigns across many cities makes it easier to retarget populations. With more data and information about the target audience, the patient, we are able to create a bigger and more accurate picture. We have worked with sponsors on two hyperhidrosis studies and met or expedited the enrollment timeline. Check out our case studies on the Sahara Study and Brickell Biotech’s Study.
4. Use one agency instead of many.
Many research sites, clinical operations teams, and sponsors avoid putting all their eggs in one basket. While it may seem like a good idea in theory, this often puts all involved agencies in a tough position. By spreading the budget across many vendors, the research site(s) and sponsor often get fewer referrals, fewer patients enrolled, and in worst cases no patients. In our experience, giving a larger budget to one agency allows the research site or sponsor to get the referrals needed to successfully enroll the clinical trial.