Contemporary Clinical Trials
Volume 66 Pages 1-92 (March 2018)
Study Design, Statistical Design, Study Protocols
Clinical trials recruitment planning: A proposed framework from the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative
Open access – Original research article
Grant D. Huang, Jonca Bull, Kelly Johnston McKee, Elizabeth Mahon, … Jamie N. Roberts
Patient recruitment is widely recognized as a key determinant of success for clinical trials. Yet a substantial number of trials fail to reach recruitment goals—a situation that has important scientific, financial, ethical, and policy implications. Further, there are important effects on stakeholders who directly contribute to the trial including investigators, sponsors, and study participants. Despite efforts over multiple decades to identify and address barriers, recruitment challenges persist.
To advance a more comprehensive approach to trial recruitment, the Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) convened a project team to examine the challenges and to issue actionable, evidence-based recommendations for improving recruitment planning that extend beyond common study-specific strategies. We describe our multi-stakeholder effort to develop a framework that delineates three areas essential to strategic recruitment planning efforts: (1) trial design and protocol development, (2) trial feasibility and site selection, and (3) communication. Our recommendations propose an upstream approach to recruitment planning that has the potential to produce greater impact and reduce downstream barriers. Additionally, we offer tools to help facilitate adoption of the recommendations. We hope that our framework and recommendations will serve as a guide for initial efforts in clinical trial recruitment planning irrespective of disease or intervention focus, provide a common basis for discussions in this area and generate targets for further analysis and continual improvement.