Clinical studies are required to test new drugs. But at the heart of that is a need to find the right patients to participate in the clinical trial.
How Does Patient Recruitment for Study Work?
Researchers and scientists are constantly striving to improve the situation for sick people, alleviate complaints, and increase the chances of recovery. Particular attention is paid to the development of new drugs that have as few side effects as possible and improve the situation of sick people. There are currently some studies on, for example, Alzheimer’s, asthma, diabetes, hair loss, bowel diseases, skin diseases, rheumatism, heart diseases, and allergies, as more and more people are affected by these diseases.
Clinical studies are usually applied through patient organizations, hospitals, medical practices, and pharmacies as well as various patient registries. Patient registers are databases that document patients and their disease characteristics as well as treatment methods. Suitable patients can then be targeted for a clinical study. There are also registers of clinical studies, which are publicly accessible.
If patients have found the way to a study, they must first be screened and checked for the requirements of the study. Participants in a clinical study on drug development have the advantage that they receive intensive medical care and have quicker access to a suitable drug that can help alleviate their symptoms.
Problems with Patient Recruitment
Although there are many patients matching the currently advertised clinical trials, these two parts often do not come together, because the information in the alert rarely reaches the people concerned. The process of patient recruitment is very complex and often difficult. Especially in large clinical studies that involve considerable risks and specific inclusion criteria (e.g. women 18-35 years, not taking the pill, etc.), the recruitment of patients is a very time-consuming task.
If a researcher, miss certain deadlines in admitting a sufficiently large number of patients, this may jeopardize the success of the entire study. Since frequently affected patients do not even know about the possibility of participating in the study, there are long development and waiting times for drug research. In addition, there is a high drop-out rate (an average of 30%) that a clinical study entails and that must be taken into account when recruiting patients. Because often patients do not come to the round and endanger the research project.
For this reason, you must always invite more patients to a study than originally needed. When looking for study participants, also take into account that strict requirements must be met for the participants. Subjects with comorbidities are often not suitable for a study. For the recruitment, a detailed inventory of each individual patient is necessary, which is done through interviews and medical tests. However, an initial pre-selection can take place based on the information that you receive from the patient.
Ultimately, the distances a subject has to travel to participate in the study are also difficult when recruiting study participants.
New opportunities for patient recruitment
With increasing digitization, many of these difficulties in finding suitable study participants can be avoided. Because when it comes to patient recruitment via large data, the target group can be analyzed in advance.
The offer of study participation is easy to find on the Internet for patients and interested parties. They only have to provide detailed data in advance. A study organizer can define exactly what requirements a study participant must meet. This enables them to reach patients who are specifically suited to a clinical study more quickly.
A good example of how patient recruitment can work in the future is the offer from Clinithink. With the help of patient data and the specified requirements, pre-screening can take place much faster.
There are many patients who are interested in participating in a study to improve their health is but do not have access to it. Such online offers, therefore, offer a real win-win situation for study directors and potential study participants. Experience shows that patients accept such online services with gratitude. However, in order to continuously strengthen drug research, it is also important that any new information on the tolerability of drugs is recorded.