3 Strategies to Build Your Database for Patient Recruitment
Patient recruitment is a complex set of activities that work in concert to fill a trial with the allotted number of participants. One of the ways we can get a head start on patient recruitment is by having a robust patient recruitment database filled with patients in our core indications who are eager to participate in a trial. In an ideal world, your patient recruitment database would be a treasure trove of potential clinical trial participants eagerly awaiting that phone call to participate in a trial. The reality though is that many of our databases are outdated with wrong contact information, filled with patients uninterested in joining a trial, and simply do not provide enough patients to fill most of our studies. Below are three strategies to build your patient recruitment database with fresh contacts that are invested in their healthcare and eager to participate in a trial.
Offer on-going free screening services
Offering a free screening service to potential participants for your core indications is a great way to reach patients at their time of diagnosis when they are more likely to be motivated about the treatment of their particular indication. If the patient population you’re searching for is those with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, holding a free memory screening would not only provide a service to your community, but could provide you with patients for your trials. For some, this may be the only medical care they would have access to, so providing this service would be beneficial to those in the margins of health care. Referrals to healthcare providers for the newly diagnosed would be a necessary part of the equation, as well as potentially offering on-site psychological services for those who may have a difficult time coping with the new diagnosis.
Leverage your website
Your website is a potential lead-generating tool that many sites don’t invest enough time and resources into. Inbound marketing is the new face of marketing, and if you’re not doing it, then you’re falling behind. Essentially, inbound marketing (blogging, social media, ebooks, etc.) allows for new qualified “leads” to come to your website and sign up for more information; as opposed to outbound marketing (TV ads, billboards, radio ads, print ads, etc.) which requires you to broadcast to a larger audience in hopes of reaching a qualified lead. These leads are generated through content marketing, which entails providing content that adds value and is useful to your target population engendering trust and credibility while promoting your brand. When the time comes that they are ready to join a trial, your brand will be top-of-mind to the “consumer” and they will sign up for more information.
Website optimization is also a key component of inbound marketing. Website optimization is essentially optimizing your site to assure the highest percentage of inbound leads. This could entail rewriting the copy on the sign-up page and the rest of the website, adding a phone number on the main page, adding a blog, or redesigning the page altogether to improve the patient experience on the site.
Don’t be afraid of walk-ins
Walk-ins may seem to be counter to a clinical trial site’s operations, but they could provide a great boost in the number of motivated patients that are in your patient recruitment database. A simple banner on the outside of the building advertising “walk-ins welcome” visible prominently in a high traffic area could entice impulse decision-makers to visit the site and get more information. They may not qualify for a current trial, but they could be added to the database to contact when a trial that matches their profile is accepted by the site. This may be the only time they even think about joining a trial, and capturing their contact information at this juncture is essential in building a database for your patient populations.
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