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5 Steps to Developing a Successful Patient Enrollment Playbook

Medical professional sitting with an adult woman and male child for patient enrollment.
Medical professional sitting with an adult woman and male child for patient enrollment.

Running a clinical trial is not only an expensive endeavor, but there are also widespread challenges that must be planned for from the start to better secure a successful outcome. One of the most significant factors in gathering this valuable data to advance medicine is sufficient patient recruitment. Although patient enrollment goals may appear straightforward, difficulty meeting these targets is the leading cause of trial delays, affecting nearly 80% of all studies. Underperforming sites and unresponsive patients can wreak havoc on your trial. Keep your clinical trial on track with a successful patient enrollment playbook that can be developed in just five steps.

1. Understand your trial needs and patient population

At the core of most clinical research are real, human subjects. Therefore, companies can poise themselves for the best outcomes by adopting a patient-centric approach at every stage of the clinical trial. By considering your patient population’s perspective, you achieve a deeper understanding of your trial’s goals and have a better sense of potential issues that could arise.

Dedicate enough time to research and appreciate the patient population for your study. By understanding patient demographic data, socioeconomic statistics, and their needs and challenges, there is a greater chance of executing a study design that is cohesive with a patient’s daily life rather than disruptive to it.

Look at data based on previous trials from a particular area or site. Does patient compliance improve with appointment window flexibility? How many patients could benefit from transportation perks? This data analysis is instrumental in helping sponsors prepare for and mitigate high dropout rates by differentiating the most appropriate outreach approaches.

2. Develop an informed plan & timeline

Now that you understand your trial needs and goals and the target population, you can create an informed plan and realistic timeline based on data. The process of recruiting the best patients for a clinical trial is lengthy and must be accommodated with conservative estimates in a project management plan. The right enrollment strategy will incorporate materials for pre-screening, have a flexible outreach plan, and develop a strong landing page to garner patient interest. Sponsors must also remember to consider their endpoints and specific data targets when setting realistic budgets and timelines to minimize their trial costs.

3. Multi-channel marketing

When aiming to meet patient recruitment goals, utilizing traditional and digital marketing strategies backed by technology cannot be overlooked. Multi-channel marketing techniques can incorporate digital social media ads, printed materials, well-developed landing pages, and especially connecting with local health care providers to spread the word. These approaches can efficiently increase a site’s exposure to a larger population of the most suitable candidates, benefiting enrollment numbers and patient diversity.

4. Choose the right technology

The global landscape of biopharmaceutical research is rapidly advancing, and implementing the right tools supports a carefully developed recruitment plan. Select technology that can help streamline processes from start to finish. Sponsors should consider various products which can assist with candidate targeting, multi-platform marketing, and diversity outreach. Smart filtering of a site’s own EMR can streamline finding patients who may already be interested in trials. Integrated technology, APIs, and cross-platform clinical trial management systems are valuable tools that can improve enrollment. Many sponsors can also utilize the resources of clinical research organizations (CROs) like Vial, which already offers CTMS, eSource, EDC, eTMF, and ePro tools for free.

5. Educate and communicate

Lastly, sponsors must promote education and clear communication between sites and patients. Building these relationships will keep patients engaged and enrolled, which benefits a study’s retention rates. Many products exist to aid sites in maintaining these connections with their study participants. Create an educational and open atmosphere by utilizing health-tech and automated appointment reminders. Regularly ensure that patients are supported and informed via brochures, pamphlets, and online tools and keep visits patient-centered by offering flexible visit options. These approaches go a long way in helping participants feel more comfortable.

Want a ready to use patient enrollment playbook?

Struggling with meeting patient enrollment goals is a recognized obstacle that can quickly derail an unprepared clinical trial. However, because this is such a common challenge, there are numerous resources for sponsors to turn to when developing strategies for their patient enrollment playbook. The key steps in ensuring your recruitment plan is a success largely come down to acknowledging the value of the patients who will join your study, as well as using all the right tools at your disposal to streamline the enrollment process.

Vial is an innovative CRO that can leverage its highly integrated tech-enabled trial management platforms to execute successful study recruitment with its proven patient enrollment playbook. To learn more about VialConnect and other next-generation products we have to offer, visit vial.com/vialconnect

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