clinical trials: the challenge of volunteer recruitment
by Neoteryx | 2 min read
Clinical trials require recruitment, retention, and engagement. Recruitment is one of the most challenging factors, and one that must be must overcome if trial goals are to be accomplished. Poor recruitment results in trial delays, which can lead to financial losses. Recruitment of too few test subjects creates the potential for presenting biased results; more test participants are needed in order to present comprehensive and conclusive results. Here is why patient recruitment presents a challenge to the recruiters:
1. Only a small amount of budget goes into recruitment.
Recruitment of participants is as important as any other part of the clinical trial, so setting aside enough money to create awareness is needed, along with doing the best possible work within limits. This ensures the public knows of upcoming clinical trials and how to enroll.
2. Many participants are primarily interested in money.
Many people enrolling as participants in clinical trials are primarily interested in receiving money for their participation. If the money offered is not enticing enough, or if there is none, few people may be willing to participate.
Clinical trials are important in advancing healthcare and promoting the health of humans and society. People need to be aware of the impact they might make if a clinical trial presents a new medication that could change many lives. Letting people know about this could increase the number of participants, if it's done in a way that really engages people.
3. Condition-specific trials are specifically challenging.
Clinical trials that require healthy individuals are quite easy to recruit for compared to those that are condition-specific. In more specific instances, sponsors and scientists could target specific facilities that treat the condition in question and ask the health practitioners to help create awareness. In these instances, the appeal to join a trial may be early access to a medication that may provide significant health benefits compared to current treatments available.
4. Paperwork can be a deterrent.
Reams of paperwork can deter individuals from participating in clinical trials. Since the clinical trials are meant to be experimental, there’s a risk that things can go wrong. This requires a lot of paperwork that protects both parties. Simplifying the process could work in attracting interested individuals.
5. Procedural factors may be intimidating.
Individuals may fear the potential side effects, as well as the processes that take place during clinical trials. Participants may be required to frequently and consistently collect biological specimens for testing. When a trial requires blood collection through venipuncture, for example, this may deter some people from participating. Many people fear needles and blood draws. With new, minimally invasive blood collection procedures such as microsampling, it’s easier to eliminate the fear factor from clinical trials. Letting the participants know about this practically painless option for specimen collection could lead to recruiting more individuals.