Improving patient recruitment to clinical trials


Several articles recently published in Trials, BioMed Central’s journal dedicated to investigating any aspect of the design, performance, and findings of
randomized controlled trials, all explore the issue of improving patient recruitment to clinical trials. The five articles highlight a number of factors that can influence the often-challenging recruitment process.


In their report of patient recruitment to the Women’s International Study of long Duration Oestrogen after Menopause (WISDOM) trial, Paine et al., found
that conducting group seminars with potential participants,  providing information about hormone therapy and the trial prior to a screening interview was a useful strategy for maximizing recruitment to this large, long-term trial.

Multi-centre collaboration
Rahbari and colleagues report that the establishment of a network of clinical trial centres with affiliated clinical sites improves integration and conduct of multi-centre randomized controlled trials, in a surgical setting.

Automated identification
In their case study, Dugas and colleagues found that routine hospital information system (HIS) data can support recruitment of suitable patients for inclusion in acute myeloid leukemia trials, identified by means of an automated notification workflow.

Targeted recruitment teams
Female students at 22 universities
and further education colleges were recruited to a Chlamydia screening trial by female research
assistants working in pairs. In their study, Atherton et al., concluded that the key to attaining recruitment targets was the enthusiasm of the research team.

Francis and colleagues present a structured assessment framework, derived from
the Medical Research Council’s Corticosteroid Randomization after
Significant Head injury (CRASH) trial, in setting out 12 factors that
may affect the success of a clinical trial’s marketing activities,
which can in turn have implications for patient recruitment and overall
trial performance.

All articles are online and available open access:

Seminars may increase recruitment to randomised controlled trials: lessons learned from WISDOM
Bronwen J Paine, Nigel P Stocks, Alastair H MacLennan

A concept for trial institutions focussing on randomised controlled trials in surgery
Nuh N. Rahbari, Markus K. Diener, Lars Fischer, Moritz N. Wente, Peter Kienle, Markus W. Buchler, Christoph M. Seiler

Workflow to improve patient recruitment for clinical trials within hospital information systems – a case-study
Martin Dugas, Matthias Lange, Wolfgang E Berdel, Carsten Muller-Tidow

Recruitment of young women to a trial of chlamydia screening as easy as it sounds?
Helen Atherton, Debbie Banks, Ruth Harbit, Linzie Long, Fiona Chadd, Phillip Hay, Sally Kerry, Ian Simms, Pippa Oakeshott

Marketing and clinical trials: a case study
Francis, Ian Roberts, Diana R Elbourne, Haleema Shakur, Rosemary C
Knight, Jo Garcia, Claire Snowdon, Vikki A Entwistle, Alison M
McDonald, Adrian M Grant, Marion K Campbell

Trials is overseen by Doug Altman (United Kingdom), Curt Furberg
(United States), Jeremy Grimshaw (Canada) and Peter Rothwell (United
Kingdom), the Editors-in-Chief, and an expert editorial board. If you would like more information on the journal, please contact the editorial office.

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