Patient Recruitment in Clinical Trials Can be More Efficient

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Subject or patient recruitment continues to be one of the biggest challenges in clinical trials, especially in oncology or rare diseases.  “Fewer than one in 20 adult patients with cancer enroll in cancer clinical trials.  … A clinical trial system that enrolls patients at a higher rate produces treatment advances at a faster rate and corresponding improvements in cancer population outcomes. Viewed in this light, the issue of clinical trial enrollment is foundational, lying at the heart of the cancer clinical trial endeavor.1"

While some patients may do an online search or ask their treating physician, often patients consider the clinical trial as a last resort – when current treatment options are not working. 

The equation needs to be flipped. Sponsors need to understand where their specific patient population may exist in medical practices.  For example, if a drug manufacturer is considering a trial for its first in class treatment but needs to identify naïve or newly diagnosed patients with specific biomarkers, relaying on the internet or the recommendations from health care providers for enrollment may prove costly and extend the study’s timeframe.

With data available today through EMRs, manufacturers can access analytics drawn from practices or health care setting who treat the specific patient population, streamlining the enrollment process.  Non-identifiable data can be extracted from practice data showing those providers who show a tendency for treating those specific patients.   

Matching those practices and providers to your needed subjects and making the enrollment and screening processes more efficient, will lead to a reduced overall timeline. It’s essential to have those insights to quickly identify your potential subjects and supply the providers with accurate information about your trial and the inclusion/exclusion criteria.
 
1. The Role of Clinical Trial Participation in Cancer Research: Barriers, Evidence, and Strategies; Joseph M. Unger, PhD, Elise Cook, MD, Eric Tai, MD, and Archie Bleyer, MD https://ascopubs.org/doi/abs/10.1200/EDBK_156686