For drug manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, patient recruitment is the "elephant in the room". It is the primary cause of missing deadlines and early termination for a clinical trial if the trial fails to meet recruitment goals. Dealing with delays can be expensive, on top of already expensive clinical trial costs. As of 2015, just to develop and gain approval of one new prescription drug would cost a pharmaceutical company upwards of $2 billion dollars.
This number is only expected to increase, as competition among pharmaceutical companies tightens, and demand for patients outpaces supply. In order for clinical trial sites to be able to cope with meeting their recruitment goals under these conditions, many companies are outsourcing to CRO's, or Contract Research Organizations such as Quintiles or Parexel. These companies take over some the more important functions of a clinical trial program, including patient recruitment, in order to increase efficiency and effectiveness.
However, with such a large pool of potential patients to screen through for eligibility, CRO's can increase efficiency for clinical trials even further by outsourcing recruitment to a company that can pass through the top recruitment barriers. Take for example, a contact center.
There are four main recruitment barriers that a contact center can help CPO's eliminate.
1. Good and efficient communication
Contact centers can offer good and fast communication on leads that come through on potential patients. As soon as leads are received, agents reach out to find out more information about that individual to see if they meet the requirements.
2. Having enough staff to meet needs
Having enough staff to handle up or downswings in the number of leads coming through on candidates, is often something that research sites and CRO's have trouble dealing with. Contact centers, on the other hand, are flexible and can easily scale up or down depending on demand and need. So if more leads are being received, the contact center can allocate more agents in order to keep up, never missing out on any potential candidates.
3. Finding people who meet eligibility criteria
Speaking to potential patients about their symptoms, disease and conditions to see if they might be a potential candidate can easily be handled by a contact center. Agents will be trained accordingly to pronounce and understand relevant medical terms, and run candidates through a screening process. Those who meet the correct criteria can then be sent back to the CRO's
4. Time and cost
It takes time and money to reach out to patients who might be eligible for a study. Contact centers can be a low-cost, budget friendly option for CRO's to deal with their patient recruitment or recruitment overflow.
Patient recruitment for clinical trials doesn't have to be the cause of early termination or delays. Outsourcing to contact centers can assist CRO's in meeting patient recruitment goals.