Our expert answers 3 Questions
I am currently working on issues related to clinical research study recruitment. At any point in time, the University of Michigan has nearly 2,000 clinical studies underway. Many of these will fail to enroll an adequate number of research participants. This problem is not unique to the U-M; indeed, it is a pervasive national issue. Our team is hoping to understand this problem better and to identify ways of: (1) improving data collection related to clinical research recruitment, (2) helping study coordinators better recruit and retain research participants, and (3) identifying research participants whose participation in particular trials is critical to the success of the trial.
The key implication of this work for health care is that researchers will be better able to identify eligibility criteria that will enable them to recruit research participants for their studies, more clinical studies will be successful, and the clinical research enterprise will be more efficient and effective.
The United States spends billions of dollars each year on clinical research. Many of these clinical research studies are peer-reviewed, funded by the federal government, and have high scientific and medical importance. Nevertheless, many do not attract sufficient research participants to complete the studies in question. Improved recruitment and retention strategies, coupled with the early identification of studies unlikely to recruit sufficient research participants under the proposed eligibility criteria, will allow a higher proportion of the funded studies to be successful. This will lead to a more efficient use of scarce resources and improved health care. On a personal level, there are many opportunities for interesting data analysis and for the use of optimization to improve the recruitment process.