Patient and Stakeholder Engagement

Premier Insight 242: How Ramping Up Communications Helped Overcome a Next-to- Impossible Recruitment Challenge

We knew going in that it could be the perfect recruiting nightmare. We were looking for children ages 2 to 12 for a dermatology study that involved long visits and extensive blood draws. We had extremely complex inclusion/exclusion criteria.

And most parents wanted nothing to do with it.

“Hello, it’s me again.”

We sent feasibility studies to more than 100 potential sites. The lack of interest was overwhelming. At risk of falling behind, we changed our tactics and signed on nine sites in just two months.

New tactics, dramatic improvements

The secret? First, working with the sponsor, we developed a recruiting plan that each site completed at its initiation visit. We let sites set their own goals, and commit to them – and for most people, a personal commitment is one of the strongest motivators around.

We assigned a project coordinator who stayed so close to every site that none of them could put our study on the back burner, despite a low recruiting goal of approximately one patient per site every eight months. The sites filled out a prescreening log every week, and every week we reviewed their log with them. We cajoled. We talked. We made friends. And we frequently asked, “Hey, what else can we do for you?”

And behind the scenes, we made sure our project coordinator had all the time he needed – and the right personality – to build a relationship with every site.

It’s not the way we usually do it. But then again, our customers count on us to figure out what’s necessary, and do whatever it takes. Which we did. Now everything is on track, and we intend to keep it that way.