Cancel your clinical research site’s next scheduled brainstorming session: in this blogpost, we’re going to introduce you to four patient recruitment strategies that are proven to get results. Tragically, many sites and CROs neglect these strategies, instead relying on the same broad-based marketing tactics that are great for selling sofas, but not so great for reaching patients in your area with a given indication. In order to get your site’s name, mission, and trials in front of the people who will most likely become volunteers, you need to try something different. Here’s what we have in mind:


Doctors are important allies in recruiting trial volunteers.

1. Close Relationships with Local Physicians

If your research site is like most others, it should probably be spending a lot more time building connections with local doctors. A doctor has at least two huge advantages as a recruiter for clinical trials. First, he has a firsthand knowledge of (and a personal relationship with) people with specific indications in the community. If you need volunteers for a study of a particular type of diabetes, a doctor in your area will know who to speak with about that study. Secondly, a doctor has a very trustworthy character, especially with patients whom he has been treating for years. If a recruiter invites someone he has never met to participate in a trial, there is a chance he will volunteer. But if that person’s doctor advises participation, that advice carries much more weight.

2. Frequent Correspondence

This strategy goes along with the last one. It takes more than one mailing to local doctors, introducing your site and asking them to tell their patients about your site’s trials. You’ll need to keep in touch throughout the year, reminding doctors to speak with their patients and offering to provide print materials to display in their waiting rooms. Frequent correspondence with past volunteers is also much more valuable than many recruiters realize. It costs very little to mail out periodic postcards or letters to those volunteers, inviting them to participate in future trials if they qualify and asking them to refer friends and family to your organization.

3. Providing General Information

Not every patient recruitment strategy is laser-focused on meeting the quota of an upcoming clinical trial. By structuring your website, printed brochures, email correspondence, and mailers to provide much-needed general information about clinical research trials, you will set your organization up for success in recruitment efforts over the coming years. Sadly, many people assume that a clinical trial is risky or even painful, and barely consider volunteering when they are invited to do so. Setting the record straight about the benefits and importance of clinical trials will prepare those in the community to respond positively to future recruitment invitations.

4. Embracing Online Recruitment Methods

Online communication technology has created an incredible array of tools that clinical research organizations can use to make their recruitment campaigns far more effective and efficient than those of the past. Your organization may not have the digital tools and research in place to make full use of these methods, but a recruitment service like Clinical List America does. To take a single example, a pre-qualifying survey offered online through a secure portal has the potential to take a potential volunteer through the critical first steps of the process without requiring the individual to leave home. Even if a respondent does not pass the pre-qualifying survey, the tool can be used to gather that individual’s contact information and keep it on file for future recruitment campaigns by the same organization.

This is just one example of how digital technology is changing the landscape of patient recruitment. Pay-per-click campaigns based on keyword search are also incredibly effective when managed by experts who also understand the intricacies of HIPAA compliance and other patient privacy topics. At Clinical List America, we specialize in creating comprehensive recruitment strategies that employ all four of these ideas—plus many more!—to increase our clients’ recruitment numbers dramatically. We hope that you will get in touch with us directly to tell us about your organization, your current patient recruitment activities, and the goals that we can help you achieve for future campaigns.