Using Technology to Power Up your Patient Recruitment & Retention


Applied Clinical Trials

CEO of Greenphire, Jim Murphy, shares his takeaways from 2019 SCRS European Site Solutions Summit and illustrates how to further position clinical research stakeholders for success.

“Partnering for Success” was the theme of the recent 2019 SCRS European Site Solutions Summit, a top conference for shared learning and networking opportunities for clinical research sites, sponsors and CROs in the region.

I was pleased to moderate an engaging panel of experts on “Using Technology to Power Up your R&R,” which identified industry and site pain points and identified new solutions across the clinical trial lifecycle. In this short article, I’ll share some of the key takeaways from the event to illustrate how you can further position clinical research stakeholders for success. 

The State of Clinical Trial Patient Recruitment & Retention

As the industry talks about making the clinical trial experience more patient-centered, clinical trials are becoming more complex for sites to conduct and more demanding of patients. While researchers look to unlock the benefits of personalized medicine, increasingly specific inclusion criteria make it harder to recruit eligible patients from one’s own clinic. As a result, patients are making more – and longer – visits for a greater number of procedures to be completed.  

The panel and audience agreed that this dynamic has made it more difficult for sites to recruit andretain patients in clinical trials, making the already difficult task of estimating recruitment for a site all the more challenging. If enrollment estimates are left unmet, studies can take longer and increase costs for all parties involved. 

Incorporating new technology can optimize clinical development – streamlining once manual and time-consuming processes for sites and eliminating barriers for patients. Yet, the varied nature of sites, indications and broader research dynamics create differing needs, and as a result, there isn’t a one size fits all technology solution for clinical trials to address recruitment and retention challenges. Instead, the panelists agreed that various technologies can be implemented to address different facets of this complex problem from patient identification through engagement. 

One area of consensus amongst all attending the session was the value presented by technology must not supersede the patient-clinician relationship. Technology instead must be used to create a more personalized level of care, rather than implementing technology for technology’s sake. The lively panel discussed programmable rideshare, automated visit reminders and timely payments as just a few examples of ways to augment the patient experience through technology. Afterall, creating tools that show clinicians care not just about study protocol, but the participant’s overall health and state of mind can help to retain patients, curbing drop out rates that leave site personnel looking for a proverbial needle in a haystack to meet their patient enrollment quota. 

What’s ahead for EU technology adoption?

The session demonstrated that although clinical trial protocols are getting more complicated, recruitment and retention can be improved by shifting procedural efforts and automating processes using software. However, sites are setting their sights on further improvement. 

Clinical research sites today aim to become more professional in their service delivery. It’s not enough to just have access to technology tools, they need to be integrated with their existing clinical trial technology ecosystem. They desire a consultative approach with expert industry partners - introducing best practices for a successful implementation and ongoing process optimization. Ultimately, sites and their clinical trial research personnel want to deliver the best possible experience to patients. Utilizing technology can help the site be more responsive to patients, enabling them to connect both at the clinic and remotely.

Research identifies pain points, fuels improvement

According to the 2018 SCRS-Greenphire Financial Pain Points Survey, recruitment was a top concern voiced by sites. However, by effectively leveraging technology, the overall patient and site experience can be drastically improved. 

You can participate in the next round of SCRS-Greenphire research now underway. We encourage you to take the SCRS-Greenphire Site Invoicing Surveyto help us innovate new solutions to sustain global clinical trials. 


Jim Murphy is the CEO of Greenphire 

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