Research Newsletters

Choosing the Right Recruitment Path

Presented by Tim Widman, Clinical Outreach Coordinator, Clinical Research Center during the March Clinical Research Coordinator’s Quarterly Updates.

There are a number of recruitment tools and strategies available to research coordinators to improve subject recruitment for clinical trials.
Basic recruitment strategies are easily accessible, inexpensive or free, and IRB approved templates are often available. The simplest may be a study flyer or brochure which can be placed or distributed in multiple clinics and/or at community events. Tim Widman, the Clinical Research Outreach Coordinator in the Clinical Research Center (CRC) provides assistance with developing compliant and attractive flyers and brochures for this purpose. A television monitor advertising clinical trials is prominently displayed in the University Hospital corridor just outside the CRC. Templates to advertise your clinical trial there are available on the CCTR website under Education > Clinical Coordinators ( Another option is to recruit at general community health fairs, ask Tim for details.

Intermediate and advanced options may require some initial outlay of funds but have the potential to reach a wider audience. There are publications, internal blogs, newsletters, etc. that are published through UNMC and Nebraska Medicine that may be able to promote a targeted clinical trial. In some instances a One Chart alert can be deployed, however, this use is deployed very strategically and may not be suitable for many trials. While the use of social media is an attractive potential tool there are regulatory considerations and its use should be carefully discussed with both the Clinical Research Outreach Coordinator and the IRB. One attractive feature of social media posts is the large number of UNMC/Nebraska Medicine followers and the ability to “boost” posts to certain other demographics for a modest fee. Higher priced options may be necessary to expand the recruitment pool. Services such as “One Call Now” can help save time by sending a single message about your study to a specified list of potentially eligible subjects. On-line advertisements can target specific search terms, websites, and zip codes. Direct mail and direct email often use databases which can be used to target special audiences. Third party database firms, such as “True Mail Marketing,” use self-reporting health data-bases which can direct mailings or calls based on specific diseases, demographics, or areas. Pharmacy bag inserts or “stuffers” can be employed to target audiences for specific alternative medication trials or disease specific trials.

Surveys find that almost all people no matter which “generation” prefer face-to-face contact when making important decisions so the value of personally connecting with subjects during recruitment cannot be overstated.

Deciding which recruitment strategy is best for your trial can be daunting, that’s when a call to the Clinical Research Outreach Coordinator is recommended. He will work with you to devise a “Trial Recruitment Plan” which considers the potential subject pool, the recruitment period, and costs associated with any recruitment strategy. Once a plan has been reviewed and accepted, the coordinator will facilitate submission of developed materials to the IRB and upon approval the recruiter can assist in distributing the materials. The recruiter also tracks the recruitment and retention so that adjustments can be made to the plan as needed.

Tim can be reached at 402-559-8587 or by email for questions.

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