How Patient Centricity Helps With Clinical Trial Retention

patient and doctor sit together

In the world of clinical trials, both recruitment and retention represent challenges. Eighty-five percent of clinical trials fall short of their recruitment objectives, while 80 percent experience delays relating to recruitment struggles, including high dropout rates. Fortunately, by using a patient-centric approach, clinical trial retention and recruitment can improve significantly. We’ll explain why patient centricity helps with clinical trial retention and how to ensure your trial is patient-centric from start to finish.

What Is Patient Centricity?

In the simplest sense, patient centricity in the context of clinical trials is an approach that’s designed to focus on the needs and perspectives of human subjects taking part. What works best for patients is a critical part of the decision-making equation, emphasizing reducing any burden on the part of the patient.

Why Is Patient Centricity Important for Clinical Trials?

Without patients, there is no clinical trial; it’s that simple. Patient retention and recruitment ultimately determine if research projects move forward or get delayed. Taking every step to manage patient centricity properly is essential to a successful clinical trial.

Typically, clinical trials struggle with both patient enrollment and retention. During phase III clinical trials, 30 percent of patients or more can end up dropping out, dramatically impacting the results of the phase and the overall success of the clinical trial.

Patient centricity aims to create an environment where human subjects feel supported, respected and valued. Incorporating the needs and preferences of a clinical trial patient into the design of the clinical research makes participating more convenient and pleasant. As a result, recruitment is more manageable as the patient will feel the trial is less burdensome. Additionally, clinical trial retention improves since remaining a part of the clinical research isn’t demanding, resulting in fewer dropouts.

Benefits of Patient-Centric Clinical Trials

As mentioned above, conducting patient-centric clinical trials makes it easier to meet recruitment goals and boosts retention, and increases patient return rates. According to one study, clinical trials that incorporated patient input had an average recruitment time of four months for 100 patients, outperforming the average timeline for all trials.

Additionally, the lack of patient-related challenges can reduce timeline delays, increase the success rate of trials, and allow drugs, devices, and therapies to get to market quicker. According to the same study, drug-related clinical trials using patient-centric approaches launched 87 percent of the time, while those that weren’t patient-centric only launched 68 percent of the time.

Ultimately, patient centricity streamlines recruitment and retention, shortens timelines, and improves clinical research outcomes. As a result, it’s a strategy worth embracing.

How to Create Patient-Centric Clinical Trials

Generally speaking, creating patient-centric clinical trials is a two-fold process. First, it involves ensuring that the clinical trial itself is as convenient or accommodating as possible from the beginning. Second, researchers must speak with patients regarding their needs and preferences throughout the clinical trial, ensuring unexpected situations are addressed and that there isn’t a reliance on guesswork when determining what best meets patient needs.

Ideally, researchers need to put patients first at every stage of the trial. By making the patients the focus during the design, planning, and enrollment phases, recruitment will be easier. Then, by continuing to remain patient-centric throughout – considering the needs of patients both inside and outside of the trial – retention improves, ensuring clinical research can move forward without unnecessary delays.

How to Ensure Patient Retention

Patient retention is one of the biggest challenges researchers face. Fortunately, by using the right strategies, it can be easily managed.

Begin with proper screening and enrollment, ensuring every patient is a good fit for the trial based on the existing criteria and participation requirements. Review any expectations, time commitments, or other details in advance, ensuring they understand what taking part involves before moving forward.

Next, focus on ongoing patient engagement. Along with appointment reminders and pre-trial education, let patients know that they’re appreciated and valued and that researchers care. As the trial gets underway, encourage relationship building, as a connection between patients and staff members can make a difference.

Then, have some flexibility regarding patient site visits. Find days and times that are as convenient for them as possible, even if that means working nights, weekends, or other non-traditional times. Additionally, embrace virtual alternatives to site visits when possible.

Finally, keep the patient experience in mind at all times. By making the process easy and enjoyable and offering fair compensation, retention metrics will undoubtedly improve.


Ultimately, patient centricity is a critical part of the clinical trial equation, boosting retention significantly by creating an environment where patients feel supported, respected, and valued.

If you’re looking for new strategies to make clinical trial management easier, you’ve got options. VialConnect streamlines trial operations, including budgeting, managing protocols, and patient recruitment. Plus, Vial can help you achieve enrollment goals in half the time compared to other CROs.

Let’s connect! Talk to a Vial team member today.

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