Want to Save Money? Have a Recruitment & Retention Plan

by Melynda Geurts

Cost savings!! Who doesn’t want to save cost?  In the dynamic world of clinical research, we are forever searching for the right formula to complete trials on time so commercial launch (assuming FDA) can happen on time.

The formula is not a foreign concept to us. Conversely, it’s so simple that it tends to get overlooked. I believe former president Dwight D. Eisenhower said it best with this quote, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

Proactive planning can result in significant time and cost savings in the long run. From a time perspective, it’s more expeditious to have a recruitment or retention program planned, developed and funded upfront so when the decision is made to launch, it’s turnkey.

Let’s take a quick look at a case study to illustrate recruitment cost savings. First, we will look at a rescue study.

This study began enrollment in February 2013. In 9 months, only 6% of enrollment was achieved. This was due to a multitude of reasons, largely, lack of proper communication and planning. The sponsor employed an external patient recruitment and retention firm to “rescue” the study. Additional, unplanned costs = $2M.

Next, we will look at a proactively planned and implemented program. The sponsor engaged Imperial from the get-go. The program included a study-specific training along with other direct site support materials. The roll-out of an effective communication and support program has resulted in a 49% increase above randomized projections. It is the effective combination of sponsor and vendor support that has yielded strong results. Costs planned ahead of schedule = $500,000.

I don’t know about you, but I’m all for saving $1.5M+ with planning a little extra time upfront.

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