An adequate number of patients have to be recruited before a clinical trial can commence. As many drug companies, universities and other researchers in the medical field are aware, recruiting patients for a clinical trial is often very daunting and time-consuming. Majority of researchers thus find participants for their clinical trials through patient recruitment outsourcing.
The benefits of patient recruitment outsourcing are many but broadly speaking it can be said that researchers transfer the hassles of recruiting patients to these outsourcing firms as they are better placed with regards to finding and enlisting participants. Patient recruitment firms have at their disposal a number of patient recruitment strategies that they use to locate and sign up patients for clinical studies. Medical trial recruitment outsourcing firms have over time developed effective recruitment techniques that most researchers cannot emulate and which explains why there is an increasing dependence on the services of professional recruiters.
Patient recruitment specialists develop extensive databases of individuals who have medical conditions that most drug companies and researchers would be interested in. They continuously add patients to their records so that they can have a large pool of patients to call upon if needed. Naturally, patients are required to give their consent before they are entered into these databases and they are made to understand that they could be requested to participate in future trials.
Having a ready database of potential participants makes the task of recruiting patients much easier for patient recruitment outsourcing specialists. A database also helps with recruitment in that it contains a list of patients who have already been screened and qualified for clinical trials. Screening patients consumes a sizeable chunk of the total amount of time that recruiters need to develop a proper list of participants and so it pays to have a prescreened list at one’s disposal. In addition, having a database with many names provides a large frame from which patients can be recruited and in case some drop out of the study they can be replaced easily.
There are other very effective patient recruitment strategies that are used by recruitment firms but which are not available to medical researchers and drug companies. For instance, patient recruitment firms usually have extensive networks of clinicians who refer patients to them. With connections to so many physicians working on different diseases, patient recruitment firms typically have a reliable source of participants for their clients’ trials. All they need to do is call these physicians and request for patient referrals. Patient recruiters also work closely with professional organizations and patent support groups, both of which are good sources of referrals.
Patient recruiters also use more common recruitment strategies such as advertising through the media, direct mail, cold calling, brochures and the internet as well. These strategies are however more expensive, time-consuming, and may not pull in as many participants are the recruiter needs. This is indeed why recruiters have to develop and constantly update patient databases as well as maintain networks with physicians, professional medical bodies and patient support groups. Patient recruiters certainly save their clients a lot of time and money by employing effective recruitment strategies.