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Beyond Enrollment: How Site Selection Impacts Patient Retention in Clinical Trials

Patient recruitment is recognized as one of the biggest challenges in clinical research. But getting patients enrolled in clinical trials is just the first step — it then becomes a question of how to keep them engaged in the process. And as research shows, this is easier said than done.

Challenges Associated With Patient Retention in Clinical Trials

On average, it’s estimated that up to 26% of study participants drop out of a clinical trial after consenting to participate. In combination with enrollment delays, this loss of participants contributes to delays that occur in more than 90% of studies.

While premature participant dropouts can bottleneck clinical trial timelines, there’s also a hefty cost to replace those participants to preserve the quality of the study’s data. The average cost to recruit a clinical trial patient is upwards of $6,500. When you factor in variables like trial delays, administrative overhead and onboarding, the average cost to recruit a new patient to replace a lost one is more than $19,000.

What Causes Patients To Drop Out of Clinical Trials?

Patients can choose to leave clinical trials early for a number of reasons. There are, however, some common threads that lead to this decision.

Logistical Challenges

Transportation issues, schedule conflicts and having to travel long distances to study sites can all create barriers for patient participation. As these logistical burdens grow more taxing over time, they can lead to frustrations for patients and cause them to drop.

Complex Study Protocols

Patients can sometimes struggle to adhere to clinical trial protocol requirements. Frequent visits to study sites or treatment regimens that become unsustainable can deter patients from continuing on in the process.

Lack of Communication

When patients feel uninformed or disconnected during a clinical trial, they start to feel unsupported. Whether it’s inadequate communications about appointments or key study updates, patients can lose trust in their study team and choose to unenroll.

How the Right Clinical Trial Site Can Improve Patient Retention

The choice of a clinical trial site has a direct impact on a study’s success. Part of that includes a site’s ability to support a patient-centric experience that retains clinical trial participants.

Consider how a site communicates with patients once they express interest in a trial. Do they follow-up within 24 hours? In this follow-up, do they share comprehensive study details to set the right expectations? These measures help lay a foundation for effective communication throughout a patient’s journey. When a patient uses multimodal communication methods to connect with patients about appointment reminders and other study information, patients are more likely to stay engaged and committed.

Then, there’s the degree of flexibility a clinical trial site offers. While working within the parameters of a study’s protocols, it’s beneficial when sites can adapt to meet patient needs. If it’s inconvenient for a patient to come on-site for trial supplies, is home delivery an option? When a clinical trial site has experience in leading decentralized clinical trials (DCTs), they have resources to make a patient’s participation in trials more convenient.

Remington-Davis Values a Patient-Centric Experience

As a clinical trial management partner, Remington-Davis strives to make patients feel valued and supported every step of the way — and it shows. Through regular communications, flexible service, free transportation service and home-like amenities at our 5,000 square-foot facility, we’ve maintained a 98% patient retention rate.

Interested in partnering with Remington-Davis for your next clinical trial? Contact us for more information.