There is a lot of emphasis today on the relationship between sites, sponsors, and their CRO partners. Site sustainability and strong partnerships that help cultivate the success of clinical research sites are of critical importance to the conduct of trials. With enrollment success at the core of successful trial completion, it is clearly pivotal that the patient recruitment provider relationship with sites is strengthened as well.
Although centralized strategies to support recruitment efforts have been available to sites for over a decade, it is more important than ever to cultivate the partnerships that you and your recruitment providers have with sites and develop ways for these experts to support sites more comprehensively.
An understanding of patient recruitment needs should begin as early as possible in the site selection and feasibility process. A significant component of the role of the recruitment support team is to help sites evaluate the recruitment needs they may have for a given trial during feasibility, in order to gauge the potential for meeting enrollment targets. This can be facilitated by training sites to spend adequate time during feasibility to carefully evaluate their internal pool of potential participants and to speak to their experiences in generating interest external to the site’s own database. Helping sites to develop a “personality” that emphasizes recruitment experience by presenting metrics they have collected on strategies that have proven results, and by exhibiting willingness to respond to outside intervention, is a clear indicator of recruitment success.
It’s important to work with research sites and employ efforts to bring sites’ input into the recruitment process as early as possible. In some cases, this can be accomplished at the early stages of protocol development. Though this approach may seem logical, it remains an open and often missed opportunity as sites both new to research as well as experienced continue to require a deeper understanding of regulatory, ethical, and social support issues surrounding the changing landscape of patient recruitment today.