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“When it comes to dedication, ICTS is second to none. Our study was in crisis mode. Everything we tried had failed. ICTS developed a novel approach to physician referral that prevented yet another round of adding investigators.”
Project Director, Top 50 Pharmaceutical Company

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  • February 14
  • by Gregg Sweet

Your study coordinators are your most important recruitment assets.

“Give us tools, support and pre-qualified potential participants”.

The role of the study coordinator and/or recruitment coordinator at the investigator site is the most important enrollment asset in your study’s recruitment to enrollment chain. They represent the front line and the most active support for any and all inquiry development tactics your team might employ. They call interested parties for further phone vetting, they make appointments to discuss the study in person, they organize, if not conduct, the informed consent, they schedule and follow through on physical screening and they manage all of the sponsor and CRO feedback and patient tracking for the studies. The single most expensive tactic we can use is one that adds burden to the study coordinator instead of reducing burden.

We have had literally thousands of discussions with study coordinators over the years and the needs for recruitment seem to have remained the same regardless of new technology and advancement of the knowledge base. Far too many studies still fail to provide the most basic of necessary resources for sites to conduct patient recruitment once their own patient rosters have been exhausted.

Tools:

Posters, brochures and other off-line materials are difficult to track for effectiveness, but we can’t ignore the simple fact that site materials help with two incredibly important functions for clinical trial recruitment. First, posters and brochures make the job of the recruitment or study coordinator easier by acting as conversation starters by making patients more approachable. Second, they communicate the most important messages about the study in a controlled and consistent manner (think of the old grape vine anecdotes).

Support:

Sites are in business every day, regardless of whether or not your study is active. Part of the reason for selecting sites based upon patient rosters is that your study will have access to these rosters in the hope of a more efficient recruitment. Since ICTS began, we have been touting the need for site advertising budgets for two very important reasons. The budgets can help them advertise your study locally and the advertising for the site expands their patient rosters and thus becomes more valuable as a future study resource.

In order to maximize the impact of a site advertising stipend you can always turn to Patient Recruitment Guru to ensure that advertising is placed where it will most benefit your study and the site. Using a professional ad resource to place ads on behalf of your sites also reduces the burden of the coordinators in having to analyze how the campaign should be built. Whenever possible, use an ad template for your study to reduce message noise between sites, especially when there are competing sites in the same marketplace.

Pre-qualified Candidates:

It doesn’t matter how many referrals your recruitment efforts send to the sites if your study coordinators are not on board with your program. Overloading sites with loosely qualified referrals is as dangerous to your campaign as sending them no referrals. In more than 25 years of working with study coordinators, the most common complaint about centralized recruitment is that most of the referrals could not possibly enter the study from the pre-qualification screener conducted. Coordinators also point out that it would have taken adding only a few more questions to the pre-screener to rectify the problem.

We realize that there are questions that cannot be answered in a simple on-line or phone interview, those that require lab values or other physician record inclusion and exclusion criteria. However, the tighter your pre-screening, the more manageable the candidates in terms of study entry.