Smart Tools for Patient Recruitment and Retention in Clinical Trials

Utilizing improved systems and tools are necessary in the ever-changing clinical trial landscape, especially when it comes to patient recruitment and retention. Excel sheets don’t exactly make the cut anymore, nor does just one solution that is not aligned with a site’s CTMS or EMR. In order to have real recruitment and retention success, clinical research sites need to adopt comprehensive solutions that engage patients, track recruitment and retention metrics, enable staff to understand areas for efficiency and better operational performance, and connect seamlessly with participants in a remote trial landscape.

Easy to Connect with Patient Recruitment Through Facebook and Other Social Media

Even before the pandemic, leveraging Facebook was a best practice for clinical research recruitment. The power to target a wide yet specific audience, relatively low costs, and ability to track analytics are all reasons that Facebook quickly became a tool-of-choice for prospective patient engagement. Covid-19 has significantly shifted the public’s online habits, specifically related to how they use social media. Consider that US adults spend an average of 35 minutes per day on Facebook and that the site has 1.8 billion daily active users. These figures, coupled with people’s increased desire to stay home, show why Facebook should be used by every clinical research trial recruiter.

Attract additional patients by building a social media campaign. For example, you could leverage a Facebook integration in your CTMS to keep the campaign ads centrally managed. What’s more, create relevant human-interest posts that connect to the COVID-19 crisis and show how your study team is adjusting to work under their new, temporary “normal” and still finding ways to have fun. Right now, everyone benefits from some levity, and it also serves as a brand boost for your site!

Keeping in Touch with Text Messaging for Patient Retention

Attracting a diverse population of patients for a clinical trial is critical for healthcare innovation, patient health, and long-term community wellness. Research trials need to draw in a diverse group of patients to ensure a drug’s effectiveness for the entire population and uncover possible hurdles for different segments of society. Unfortunately, the industry is falling short. Recent studies show that while African Americans comprise 20% of multiple myeloma patients in the US and are about two times as likely as white Americans to receive a diagnosis, they make up merely 4.5% of clinical trials conducted since 2003. So how can your site maximize diversity and ensure underserved populations are part of your trial research? One solution is in the palm of all of our hands – texting. 

Texting is an effective means to make your patients feel like they’re getting 1:1 attention. For texting and all other trial communications, it’s critical that your site instills trust with the diverse communities to which you are outreaching. Patients that come from a certain background tend to feel more at ease with people from similar backgrounds. When that need is met, they are more likely to engage with your site and be open to participating in trial work.  Recruit staff that reflects the diversity of the community with which you work and engage them in the communications process to ensure different voices are integrated into the messaging.


Deploying digital consent capabilities in your clinical trial site has clear benefits for your business – protocol adherence, data integrity, sponsor alignment, and staff efficiencies among them. But an eConsent solution also provides benefits to your patients, increasing the chances that your overall trial will be a success.

It’s critical for clinical research leadership to understand how an eConsent platform can support their team’s work so they can determine the best way to implement this game-changing eClinical solution. Deploying digital consent capabilities in your clinical trial site has clear benefits for business, staff and patients.

Leveraging Email and Inbound Recruitment tools

Make use of additional inbound recruitment tools that provide access to new prospects 24/7 via an integrated recruitment page on your website. This integration provides patients with options for pre-screening or requesting a call from a recruiter.

Leverage external recruitment lists and your CTMS database to setup targeted email campaigns in conjunction with the other marketing activities. If you can, personalize your emails with reassuring messaging and keep the content short and to the point. A landing page that routes them to pre-screening questions or contact with a recruiter would also be helpful for readers and drive participant interest.