Randomized controlled trials characterize the highest standard employed in the evaluation of the efficiency and the safety of any medical interventions.This is mainly because unlike other trials, randomized controlled trials are not prone to selection bias(Watson&Torgerson, 2006).Even so, the process of recruiting participants to take part in these studies can be particularlychallenging. While there are a number of probableoutcomes resulting from poor participant recruitment, the fundamental one is the probability that the trial will be underpowered. In such instances, the results reported may have differences that may be statistically non-significant but clinically significant. This kind of discrepancies in the findings may result in abandonment or delay in the implementation of an effective intervention oradoption of a less effective intervention(Watson&Torgerson, 2006).
This paper will discuss strategies that researchers may employ to increase recruitment for their studies. After careful analysis of the recruitment strategies discussed in this paper, I will build my own strategy for increasing the likelihood that I would have a high recruitment rate. Finally, I will explain why I believe my strategy would be effective.
Strategies for increasing the level of participation in clinical trials
Contacting Potential Perticipants
There has always been dissatisfaction among participants over the quantity, length and burden that are associated with clinical trials’information packs. This brings about the need for the researchers to choose an ideal method of communication. Employing technology potentially providesthe researcher with flexible and participant-centered methods to pass on relevant information in the suitable depth.
Sending out Reminders
Alerting potential participantsprior to the trials increases participation significantly. Making out calls has been recorded to increase participation over sending mails. However,sendingpotential participants a personalized postcard a week or a few days prior to the trial date has also been noted to have a positive impact on response rate than mailing a recruitment pack or not mailing at all.
Incentives are increasingly being used in recruitment to trialsn a given trial. An incentive should not be offered as a payment for participation but like a token of appreciation for the participants’ willingness to take part in the study(Watson, &Torgerson, 2006). Both financial and non-financial incentives are a worthwhile option that can help promote individuals’ participation research trials, especially when the value of the incentive is based on the effort or cost incurred by the participant. Such incentives can improve the rate of enrollment and participation, without gratuitous coercion. The use of incentives may also be used as a means of equalizing study participation.
Incorporating personal touches to the communications
There are a number of mailing strategies that a resercher may use to contact potential recruits including flyers; personalized mails; cultural specific personalised letter; and postcards among others. Studies show that some mailing methods encourage response more than others. For instance, sending personalized letters tends to get better response rate than sending out flyers alone (Flory & Emanuel, 2004).Cultural specific personalised letters have also been reported to improve perticipants response rates when compared to generic letters.
I believe that this strategy will be effective since people like to feel valued as opposed to being a part of a collective group. Personalized communications will go a long way into achieving this goal thus improving response rates, which will increase the number of participants who could potentially take part in the trial.
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