Top 5 reasons non-academic practice sites don’t meet their recruitment targets

Top 5 reasons non-academic practice sites don’t meet their recruitment targetsThis is a follow-up to last week’s email about academic sites.  This week I focus on non-academic practice sites.

What affects patient recruitment and enrollment for them?

Recently, we conducted a survey among non-academic site staff to identify the issues they encounter frequently during clinical trials.  More than 120 site staff completed the survey; of those, 52% were sites that enrolled 75% or more of the targeted number of respondents.

The most common issues among non-academic practice sites were:

  • Excessive turnover among CRAs/monitors (50% of all non-academic practice sites)
  • There were an excessive number of queries from study-related software vendors (44%)
  • Protocol-related tasks require more staff time than budgeted (43%)
  • Data entry is excessively repetitive (43%)
  • Payments to sites are delayed (42%)

We also compared the frequency of issues encountered by sites which were ‘successful’ in patient enrollment (i.e., 75%+ targeted enrollment) with ‘unsuccessful’ sites (less than 75% targeted enrollment).  Five attributes with the biggest separation between successful and unsuccessful sites were:

  1. Site initiation visits are too general (identified by 11% of successful versus 41% of unsuccessful sites)
  1. Central laboratory results are inconsistent with local laboratories (8% vs 34%)
  1. Software ‘crashed’ too frequently (14% vs 39%)
  1. Sponsor was too pushy about enrollment (6% vs 31%)
  1. Site staff was inadequate training on hardware (0% vs 25%)

What is striking to me about this list is, once again, that none of the top five issues were related to eligibility criteria.  Software/hardware issues were far more common issues.  The takeaway message?  Eligibility requirements may hinder site participation.  They are not the major barriers for site engagement.

When on-time delivery of your clinical trial is critical, contact me.  We can ensure your trials deliver on time.

Ross H. Weaver, PharmD, MBA


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