Improving recruitment for clinical trials: the human touch

Pardeep S Jhund
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (9): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50161
Published online: 20 May 2019

Personal contact is crucial for encouraging patients to participate

Starting recruitment is an important milestone in the life cycle of a randomised clinical trial. It often marks the end of months or even years of planning, and is an exciting time for the investigators. However, despite the best planning, recruitment for clinical trials is never easy, and can be difficult for a multitude of reasons. Some relate to the trial itself; the inclusion and exclusion criteria, although intellectually robust, may prevent any patients from ever being eligible. Recruitment may be difficult because of trouble accessing the required types of patients; if the trial is inadequately funded, investigators may be unwilling to recruit participants, or they may be inexperienced regarding the intervention or the population being investigated. Patient‐related factors also determine participation rates: do the patients understand the research question and protocol, is it onerous for them, what are the perceived risks? All of these factors work in a complex interplay to determine the success of trial recruitment strategies.1,2,3

  • Pardeep S Jhund

  • Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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