Over 60% of all clinical trials are either delayed or cancelled due to a lack of participant enrollment. Does this sound familiar? Do you find that at the beginning of participant recruitment month you have an overwhelming number of participants and as the weeks go on, it slows down to a trickle? Or maybe the participant(s) that showed interest in your study at the beginning, loses interest after several weeks? Why is that? Here at Research And Me, we believe there are two possible reasons that could be restraining your own recruitment efforts.
First, providing the participant with a timely response is crucial. Many researchers make the mistake of gathering the participants details and not contacting them for weeks. At this point, the participant is tired of waiting, their schedule becomes busy, or their health condition(s) worsen and impede them from attending clinical visits. We find that by contacting participants as soon as possible and within a 24-72 hour time window is optimal for retention. In addition, we realized that by not contacting participants immediately reduces their confidence in the study, lowers retention rates with each following visit, undermines the study’s accuracy, and can have serious impacts to the study’s results.
Second, maintaining current information will prevent time in tracking down participants for clinical visits. Participants may list their email and phone number, but tend to have other ways that they can be contacted quicker than conventional methods. We suggest that during the initial phone call/email with the participant(s), to get other types of contact information from the participant like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account usernames, if your IRB allows. Most participants and researchers are connected to social media platforms and respond to messages more frequently than emails and phone calls. In addition, social media platforms provide another outlet for the participant to share your research study with their friends and followers. As social media continues to grow, evidence suggests that this may become the new norm for recruitment, and more creative approaches are required in order to seek a greater participant audience. Naturally, working with your IRB is highly recommended in order to ensure they approve this approach
Learn more tips on retention and find participants that are looking to become a part of groundbreaking research studies at Research And Me!