With each successful clinical study recruitment effort, the lessons learned should be added to a national list of best practices. The same goes for unsuccessful recruitment efforts in discovering what did not work and why. These best practices must be shared online in a way that is easily searchable (e.g. recruitment promotion, study materials, phone screening, etc.) so that study teams can create their plan using the ...more »
Cultivating Recruitment Science
What research questions do we need to answer about recruitment?
To continue to enhance effectiveness of recruitment efforts and improve tools, research methods, and recruitment practices, it is critical that we build the evidence base for a "science of recruitment." This evidence base can build the case for proven recruitment techniques and guide future study design, recruitment plans, and decision-making.
Ideas in this area might address:
- Identifying and characterizing target audiences
- Developing and testing audience-specific strategies and tactics
- Identifying gaps in knowledge about recruitment strategies and implementation
- Evaluating recruitment strategy success
- Developing a robust evidence base for recruitment strategies and a science of recruitment
Develop a way to assess the recruitability of varying protocols. Such analyses could examine trial design, availability of infrastructure or off-site entities to support imaging and other off-site technologies and clinical specialties, and diversity/special population issues that could pose access-limiting challenges.
Test models that move clinical research from the site to the community to lower barriers for volunteering. Consider use of mobile units, home or other residential settings, online assessments, satellite offices, and telemedicine, and seek flexibility from the study sponsors or health authorities.
Explore how the “Internet of Things,” with its sensory technologies, augmented reality, and machine-learning algorithms might be used to understand the personal needs of each research participant and to optimize engagement in research activities.
Assess clinicians’ knowledge, interest and hesitance in telling patients about or referring them to clinical studies, generally and specifically for dementia.
Examine the development of a computer-based simulation laboratory that could model behaviors of potential research participants, study partners, clinicians, researchers, community based supports and others, so that virtual studies could be conducted to gain insights into the potential efficacy of proposed recruitment strategies.
Assess the use of social networks, crowd sourcing and other digital environments, like disease forums, that would facilitate “pre-recruitment” discussions about the state of the science related to Alzheimer’s, improving awareness and inspiring curiosity about registries or clinical studies.
Examine the motivators, barriers, and facilitators to enrolling and remaining in a registry until invited to be considered for a study. Identify methods that influence a registry enrollee to participate in a study, including an analysis of how participants’ cognitive and functional status, demographics and other variables influence their registry behavior.
Test, whenever possible, the effectiveness of messaging and incentives for participation for varying audiences (patients, study partners and clinicians, specifically) and study types (e.g. dementia vs. prevention trials). Evaluate the relative advantages and disadvantages of different strategies on motivation and action toward research participation.
Assess the state of the field, with respect to current approaches, modalities, space, and performance. Look at registries in the context of their utility for recruitment to small studies as well as for large multi-site trials and national surveys. Identify best practices in recruiting and retaining registry volunteers for prolonged periods.
Assess the feasibility of successfully engaging specific audience segments. This should be approached with short, intermediate and long-term goals in mind to fashion and implement effective national outreach.
Steps: 1) Identify salient beliefs, attitudes, values, and perceived behavioral norms and/or incentives (monetary and non-monetary) likely to affect whether people in various audiences are motivated – or not -- to join in research. 2) Articulate major barriers to participation in dementia research in each audience segment, especially among underrepresented groups. 3) Find out what key influencers, such as disease advocates, ...more »