Recruiting Patients for Clinical Trials


November 8, 2023

Recruiting patients for clinical trials poses significant challenges, impacting medical product and service development timelines. Ineffective recruitment plans can lead to delays, small study sizes, and premature termination. To overcome these hurdles, it’s essential to prioritise patients’ needs and perspectives. Embracing a multi-channel approach, encompassing traditional advertising, social media marketing, partnerships with healthcare professionals, and comprehensive search engine optimisation (SEO), can make the process more efficient. In this blog post, we delve into constructing a robust patient acquisition plan for clinical trials in 2023.

Changes in Clinical Trial Recruitment in 2023

Recent developments in clinical trial recruitment highlight two significant trends. Firstly, the effectiveness of one of the top advertising platforms has decreased due to targeting adjustments. Secondly, the rise of decentralised clinical trials (DCTs) has transformed the recruitment landscape.

Evolution of Advertising Platforms

The decline in the efficacy of Facebook, historically a key driver for patient recruitment, stems from the removal of sensitive topic targeting. To counter this, a diversified advertising strategy, including platforms like Reddit and TikTok, has been successful. In addition, broadcast ads and podcast network sponsorships have shown promise in 2023. The key takeaway is the importance of not relying too heavily on a single advertising platform.

The Ascendance of Decentralised Clinical Trials

The surge in DCTs has expanded the scope of clinical trial recruitment campaigns, necessitating a fresh approach. By widening the pool of potential candidates and streamlining patient participation, the average cost per acquisition has significantly decreased in the last 12 months. This shift enables achieving excellent results with a smaller budget.

Understanding Clinical Trial Recruitment

Clinical trial recruitment involves reaching out to potential patients for testing novel treatments, including new drugs and therapies. Before reaching this stage, extensive safety testing has already occurred. Successful patient recruitment demonstrates a treatment’s safety and efficacy for a broader population, a pivotal factor in a trial’s success.

Challenges in Patient Recruitment

The challenges in recruiting patients for trials are evident, with up to 86% of trials failing to meet recruitment quotas on time. Common hurdles include unrealistic goals, ensuring patient suitability, and addressing patient refusals. Patient disinterest, scheduling conflicts, risk concerns, and time-consuming tests contribute to patient refusals.

Strategies for Effective Patient Recruitment

To overcome these challenges, several strategies can be employed:

  • Set realistic goals and allocate sufficient recruitment time.
  • Collaborate with local healthcare professionals to build trust.
  • Utilise social media platforms, especially for recruiting healthy patients.
  • Prioritise clear, patient-friendly language in marketing materials.
  • Offer fair compensation to address time and financial constraints.
  • Understand patient search behaviour and implement effective SEO strategies.
  • Adhere to healthcare advertising regulations and maintain website accessibility.
  • Implement open-ended surveys for patients who refuse to participate.
  • Track refusals and act on findings to optimise recruitment.

In Conclusion

Clinical trial recruitment in the digital age presents both challenges and opportunities. The key to success is a patient-centric approach that anticipates their needs. Meeting patients through clinician partnerships, social media, or SEO is essential. Proactively planning recruitment strategies early in the process can prevent future complications. Our team is equipped with patient data insights and healthcare marketing expertise to help you formulate an effective plan tailored to your trial’s needs.

At Avery Fairbank, we deeply recognise the critical role patient recruitment plays in advancing the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. Our seasoned team excels in identifying top talent in this field, ensuring your organisation’s commitment to efficient and effective patient recruitment strategies. Whether you are looking to strengthen your pharmaceutical team or seeking expert guidance, we invite you to explore our website for more information about our services or get in touch to discuss your unique requirements.

Patient Recruitment

Published on 08-11-2023