Maximizing Recruitment Potential for Research Studies

Meghan Hosely
October 1st, 2019

Last month, members of the Onsemble Community gathered in Madison, Wisconsin for the bi-annual Onsemble Conference. After four days of learning and networking, customers have returned home to apply what was covered here in Madison.

At this year’s Fall Onsemble Conference, Chanel Mansfield, Special Projects Manager and Neva Garner, Research Facilitator/Trainer, both of the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus, presented “Recruitment Support Strategies from an Institutional Perspective.”

Mansfield and Garner shared how they work to overcome hurdles to recruitment for clinical studies, including lessons learned on inaccurate patient information, inexperienced Principal Investigators (PIs) and lack of detailed recruitment plans.

Inaccurate Patient Information

When collecting information for recruitment, Garner said to take into account details such as age, subject population, feasibility, estimated accrual duration and foreseeable barriers to recruitment.

A big key to obtaining correct patient information is to make sure research staff understand the study, including the potential results. Knowing a trial in full helps staff understand how their specific role impacts both the team and the study. If staff understands their role plays a larger part, it helps them understand why it’s critical to add the patient’s information as it comes in.

Mansfield said information of a potential participant is pulled from OnCore, to the SIP console and onto their website. The study team will enter the participant’s eligibility, objective and treatment, into the SIP console, connecting them with potential studies. It helps to keep information accurate, so subjects can be correctly matched.

Inexperienced PIs

Garner said it’s not uncommon for junior PIs (or new PIs) to have unrealistic expectations about the start-up time of a study, or even the time it takes to recruit patients. If there’s a lack of planning on the PIs part, it can lead to a low-performing study.

When there is a low-performing study, UC Denver’s approach is to send out a letter to the PI assigned to the study to gather more information. The information is gathered in order to understand why the study is underperforming, and it’s also used to provide the PI with resources. After three months, Garner said, a follow-up letter is sent out. Committees also collect data on underaccruing studies to understand more about why a study isn’t achieving success in the first place.

Lack of Detailed Recruitment Plans

Mansfield and Garner said a big challenge for their organization is having a detailed recruitment plan. This could be due to a number of reasons, including PIs not being flexible in their plans or not being aware of other investigators they could work with on a study.

To help mitigate this, Mansfield said Colorado uses Forte Insights for recruitment monitoring, and they plan to open access to the business analytics platform to their full PI community in the future. This is designed so staff are thoughtful about what is entered into OnCore and helps keep information accurate at any given time.  

By addressing their lessons learned, Mansfield and Garner said it’s allowed them to focus on continually improving their recruitment strategies as an institution, while reducing the low-accruing studies at the same time.

Want to learn more?

To learn more best practices for improving clinical trial patient recruitment at your research institution, view the free, on-demand recording of the presentation by Beth Harper, President, Clinical Performance Partners, Inc. and Kelly Anastasio, Associate Director of Clinical Trial Resources, Yale University: How to improve your clinical trial patient recruitment. 

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How to Improve Your Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment: A Panel Discussion

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