Patient recruitment and its challenges

Patient recruitment is the process of recruiting patients for a clinical study. CROs (Clinical Research Organizations) generally outsource a patient recruitment company do the job of getting patients. The recruitment company employ diverse mechanisms to advertise the study they are conducting. Most companies also have their own database from there they can cull the required numbers and sell it to the CROs. But at the heart of all this is the recruitment company to patient communication. How can the recruitment company be in constant contact with the patients?

Some of the challenges faced by patient recruitment companies are:

  • Awareness : Patients seldom know the details of a clinical study. The side effect, the duration, the medical phase and other details. They need to be informed about the study through various mechanisms. Websites, Self driven voice solutions, Emails etc.
  • Easy opt in  : Once the patient knows that a study is being conducted, the opt-in has to be easy. Asking them to go to a website to register might not work all the time. They might forget once they move away from the advertisement.
  • Study Reminders: Even after opting in, the patient is still not ready for the clinical study. A series of tests have to be done on the patient which will require the patient to come to see the clinician at regular intervals. So reminding the patient to see the clinician is crucial to get the patient ready for the study.
  • Change in ailments : Patients often develop new ailments and old ones are sometimes cured. Keeping abreast of all the patients in a recruitment database is going to be a hard task. But giving patients an easy way to self manage their ailments is easy.

What are the solutions ?

  • Awareness: Setup a voice solution that reacts to spoken words and phrases and describes a particular study being conducted. It should also read out the duration, phase of the medical study and side effects of any medication that needs to be taken.
  • Easy opt-in : A simple TEXT based solution that immediately opts-in the patients for a study being conducted can be put up along with the TV / Poster ads. Patients TEXT in a keyword and the system opts them in immediately.
  • Study Reminders : Regular VOICE or TEXT reminders should be pre-scheduled in the system to remind the patients of their next doctor’s / clinician’s visit. The system should also allow cancellation of appointment and re-scheduling appointments.
  • Change in ailments : An easy TEXT based solution should allow patients to add or remove ailments from their record. Or a voice based solution to let patients hear all their ailments so far recorded and remove ailments immediately by saying “remove” and  add news ones using Speech recognition.

There are more communication challenges that a patient recruitment company faces. The more channels of communication that are opened the easier it is for both parties to connect.

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