In our last blogpost, we discussed how important it is to adopt new recruitment practices like social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and text messaging in order to reach the critical younger generation of clinical trial volunteers. But there can be a hidden danger in transforming your trial recruitment activities from the ground up: the older generations of volunteers, who remain very important for research of age-related diseases, could stop seeing your recruitment messages. Given this situation, clinical trial recruitment managers today have a very difficult balancing act to achieve: using one set of creative strategies to reach younger volunteers while using a much different set to continue reaching older volunteers. Today, we focus on a few of the strategies in that second set.
Just as with younger volunteers, trial recruitment has certain tough obstacles to overcome when working to reach older volunteers. Many of those are the same obstacles that have been plaguing the industry for decades:
• Competing with “junk mail” in potential volunteers’ mailboxes
• Making the response process simple and easy
• Educating potential volunteers about the benefits and safety of clinical trials.
Overcoming these obstacles is not easy, but it is possible! An experienced third-party service that has been focused on refining recruitment strategies for many years, as Clinical List America has, can offer ready-made solutions and customize them to match the needs of a research organization that is working to recruit older volunteers.
The principles are the same as they have been for years: your recruitment mailers need to look professional and inspire confidence in your organization’s ability to protect the health and personal medical data of volunteers. At the same time, those mailers need to stand out from the advertising envelopes, catalogs, postcards, and sales flyers that people have learned to tune out. That’s the balance that we have been offering our clients for years, with great success. Supporting that success is our access to national address lists of people who have indicated their interest in volunteering for clinical trials. Filtering those lists by geographical radius, age range, and other criteria allows us to mail your marketing materials to the people who are most likely to volunteer for your trial.
The Response Process
If you move all of your response processing online, you will probably lose older patients who just don’t feel comfortable logging onto a website and entering their personal information, or scanning a QR code with a smartphone to learn more about your study. When recruiting older volunteers, it is important to continue offering the familiar mail response options and toll-free phone numbers (always staffed by real human agents!) that those volunteers prefer to use. Including a postage-paid postcard or envelope is a fantastic way to streamline the response process for the volunteer and remove a small but significant obstacle.
Clinical Research Education
Education of the public about the safety, importance, and benefits of volunteering for clinical research continues to be a major responsibility for research organizations. Unfortunately, it can be very difficult to know how to go about answering common fears and questions about the process. Older volunteers and their families want to be reassured that they are not taking risks with their health by taking part in a trial, and the better their understanding of their contribution to medical advancement, the more likely they are to volunteer.
Your research organization can provide this education in the form of brochures, a high quality website, informational videos, a phone hotline, and other methods. Don’t be discouraged if that sounds like a large addition to your current recruitment activities; Clinical List America can come alongside your organization and quickly build an educational strategy that will show your community how valuable clinical research is for public health—and for the individuals that participate in trials.
The Patient Recruitment Spectrum
Using different sets of recruitment strategies based on the demographics of each study is not simple, but it is the best way to focus your efforts and use your recruitment budget to its highest potential. We hope that you will allow Clinical List America to expand your recruitment power, educate your neighbors about the importance of what you do, and refine each campaign for the best possible response rate.