Recruitment & Retention Planning: Getting Started

A realistic, targeted strategic recruitment and retention plan, adequately resourced, implemented and adjusted as needed, will have a significant impact on recruitment and retention, ensuring that your clinical trial can complete on time and have the intended impact.

Before you are funded:

Recruitment and retention planning are activities that should be done in parallel with grant writing and protocol design. Successful study recruitment and retention requires proactive planning and strategizing long before study activation. Focus your planning efforts on a few key areas, including:

  • Site selection
    1. Well-organized sites with successful track records and teams that are dedicated to implementing the study and have an appropriate number of eligible patients.
  • Communication plans
    1. The methods and mechanisms you will use engage and maintain interest and awareness of your study among the various stakeholders: the referring physicians, patient advocacy groups, study coordinators.
  • Monitoring and assessing the outcome of your efforts
    1. How will you know if your recruitment and retention strategies are working?  What will be the metrics of success that will define when your strategies need to change or new strategies need to be implemented?  How often will you check?  Who will be responsible for monitoring?

Where to start:

  • Discuss with your Program Officer, who can help you identify your target audiences, create messages, brainstorm, and provide you with tools to plan efficient recruitment and retention to your study.
  • Visit the NIH Clinical Trials and You website for ideas and tools for enhancing awareness of clinical trials.
  • Take a trip through AccrualNet for a wealth of articles, tools, tips and resources for planning clinical trials, improving recruitment and retention and planning outreach to various communities, and stay connected to all AccrualNetTM has to offer through its Buttons and Badges.



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