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New Study Says Active Clinical Trial Seekers Show Highest Retention Rate

June 16, 2015

In a new white paper, Pennsylvania-based patient recruitment and retention service MediciGlobal compares how different methods for attracting clinical trial participants correlate with how long the participants stay in their trials. The study concludes the highest retention rate belongs to those who seek out trials or who, after learning through an advertisement of a trial seeking participants, take the initiative to contact online screeners. In fact, such participants are almost 40% less likely to drop out of a clinical trial than are those contacted by researchers who find them through website or database searches or medical referrals.

The new study, “Clinical Retention Meta-Analysis,” analyzes four studies with enough data to shed light on the topic. The MediciGlobal white paper notes the scarcity of studies making detailed comparisons of retention figures at each point in a clinical trial for participants actively involved in finding their trial, compared with the corresponding figures for more passively involved persons.

Despite scouring literature sources such as MEDLINE, the Cochrane Library and the Educational Resources information center for randomized clinical trials of at least six months duration after randomization that have been conducted within the past five years, only two studies could be found with any findings at all on the relative retention rates for actively versus passively recruited participants. The MediciGlobal paper says this fact illustrates the need for further research on the topic.

Even these two studies with some findings could not provide detailed data on which participants dropped out of the trial, and at what point they did so. To fill the gap, the MediciGlobal searched its own database of clinical trials it has assisted since 2009, and found four which furnished the detailed information it was seeking.

Before referring a potential participant to a clinical trial site for an initial evaluation, MediciGlobal employs detailed online pre-screening to match patients to study inclusion/exclusion criteria, and requires an additional second level pre-screening contact by a nurse.

For each of the four studies examined draw from MediciGlobal records, the paper examined the overall retention rate for trial participants who actively sought out a trial, compared with those recruited by more passive methods, and how retention patterns varied for the two groups at different stages of clinical trials.

The four studies showed drop-out rates for actively involved trial seekers were between 28% and 48% lower. Overall, participants who actively sought out a clinical trial had a statistically significant 38% lower drop-out rate for the four trials studied, with a 95% confidence index. The retention rates between the two groups also diverged more strongly the longer the clinical trial continued.

The researchers hypothesized the difference may be the result of higher motivation among actively involved participants, who themselves made initial contact with recruiters and persisted through a two-stage screening process. They also noted, however, that additional factors — such as the design of the trial, and the type of therapy and intervention involved – might also contribute to the differing retention rates, and suggested further research be done to identify what factors drove the results.

Excerpts from the study will be published in the June issue of DIA Forum.

From → June 2015

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