NEMRA utilizes systematic recruitment and enrollment strategies that are based on experience, historical enrollment metrics, local community needs and interests, current health and medical trends, referral trends, and multi-media effectiveness.
NEMRA’s recruitment strategies start during study feasibility, long before we are awarded a study. NEMRA holds weekly strategy sessions to address needs or concerns related to ongoing clinical studies. In these sessions, we also discuss new potential studies and we brainstorm the implementation of potential recruitment strategies. We utilize the time from study feasibility to site initiation to target and maximize recruitment success.
Strategies are implemented collaboratively and strategy execution benefits from the contributions of the entire team. NEMRA recognizes that recruitment is potentially the most dynamic and unpredictable element of conducting clinical research. Our ongoing pre-study efforts and multi-strategic approach minimizes this unpredictability and provides value to Sponsors and CROs.
NEMRA Recruitment Tools include:
• NEMRA Research Database
Approximately 8,000 active volunteers; database may be queried by medical diagnosis, age, gender, location, etc. The NEMRA Patient Database is managed by our Operations Manager.
• Professional Referrals
NEMRA benefits from its association with our clinical practice. The relationships our investigators maintain with the patients they see at their own private practices may lead to potential new candidates. This synergy, combined with a fully equipped Clinical Research Site and a powerful database to draw from, offers NEMRA Sponsors/CROs the best of all worlds.
• Multi-media expertise
As part of our ongoing overall strategy to recruit and retain study subjects, all of our subjects’ information is actively maintained in a database and qualified subjects are contacted regularly regarding upcoming studies. All our studies are promoted and advertised in a manner that is designed to meet industry requirements on a timely basis. Our collateral materials, including print ads, flyers, posters, email alerts, radio and television spots, billboards and online banner ads are designed for the specific study that is being promoted and target the desired demographic segment relevant to each study.
To date, the following media strategies have been used (not an exhaustive list):
- Print media – in main metro newspaper and in more focused/specific publications
- TV / Text campaigns
- Direct Mail
- Mobile WAP applications to be viewed and distributed via smart phones
- Internet Advertising including Center Watch, Clinical Connection and Website Banners.
- Social Media, such as Facebook page listing and advertising.
- Web Optimization
- Web Banner Advertisement
- “Refer a Friend” Program
- Flyers, posters, and handouts
- Transit and Billboards
- NEMRA has also collaborated with numerous Centralized Advertising Vendors
NEMRA understands that “retention” of study participants is of vital importance to all Sponsors/CROs. For this purpose, keeping volunteers motivated is fundamental and creative approaches to this task are of the utmost importance. Retention is not just a word or an idea at NEMRA, it is a process.
Participant retention starts with careful selection. It is not enough to ensure retention success that the volunteer meets Inclusion/Exclusion criteria. This does not necessarily result in automatic enrollment. Our Informed Consent Process, managed by our skilled team, carefully explains to all volunteers what is expected during a clinical study and the importance of their participation. Many factors such as personal issues, the volunteer’s work requirements and pressures, future travel arrangements, logistical obstacles, past study behavior, perceived reliability and general interest and motivation are assessed by the investigator before a consent signature is obtained. Volunteering is valued and our investigators exercise their discretion in this critical evaluation before volunteers are accepted for enrollment into a study. In order to ensure consistency of participation, reliable results and future participation, it is imperative that the correct volunteer is accepted into the correct clinical study.
Participant Compensation as a Retention Strategy
Study participants invest their time in the study and place their physical as well as psychological well being into the hands of our qualified researchers. They may incur incidental expenses related to the study, such as travel. It is normal and adequate to allow a nominal stipend to each participant in the form of a fee per visit. For NEMRA, these costs are imbedded into study expenses.
A word about how we view volunteers and study participants:
Simply stated, research volunteers are the most important element of our work. We strive to aggressively communicate this belief to our local area consistently and in a variety of ways. We seek to highlight how valuable the contributions of research volunteers are and we thank our volunteers directly as much as possible. Our goal is to ultimately ensure that the experience they have during the course of the study, including their interactions with our staff, is positive from the very beginning and remains positive throughout.
NEMRA treats our volunteers like partners, linked to the success of a study as much as the principal investigator. Without them, studies would not exist. We practice what we believe and have developed a specific set of service skills required of our staff in all positions that interact with study participants and/or potential volunteers. They appear basic, but are not to be underestimated and are centered on the following practices applied to all our studies:
- Politeness and courtesy in the way we address and speak to volunteers on the phone.
- The professional manner in which we leave phone messages or emails.
- Promptness when returning phone calls or messages; do what we say we will do when we say we will do it.
- A commitment to detail and accuracy in how we communicate study procedures especially during the informed consent process.
- Flexible scheduling and re-scheduling (including weekends if needed) per protocol requirements.
- Very limited waiting time in our waiting area.
As members of a community with high educational standards, we feel that we have an obligation to uphold these standards. This includes being polite and courteous to our patients at all times. Most importantly, our staff enjoys their work and their positive attitude creates a mutually respectful business environment and culture within NEMRA. As an example of our commitment to excellence, NEMRA consistently updates and perfects its SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) to reflect new learning and newly acquired experience.
NEMRA maintains a research database containing over 8,000 volunteers whom we view not only as patients, but as the basis for the success of all our studies. This simple recognition when linked to targeted in-house staff training as well as to the reinforcement of customer service skills ensures that our retention ratios continue to rise and that our studies become more effective.
Our database is current, active and extensive. Within this confidential database we maintain the names of volunteers who have either participated in a clinical study with NEMRA or who have expressed interest in volunteering for our clinical studies. The database can be quickly and accurately queried by age, gender, ethnic group and medical diagnosis/history and therefore offers valuable information in the development of quick feasibility surveys. Our database closely mirrors generic demographics of the Northeast and we intend to continue seeking clinical study opportunities that would benefit our entire population.
Generic demographic breakdown is as follows:
Female – 60%
Male – 40%
Caucasian – 80%
African American –5%
Other – 15%
17 years of age and under : 10% of database
18 – 29 age group: 9% of database
30 – 39 age group: 13% of database
40 – 49 age group: 19% of database
50 – 59 age group: 23% of database
60 – 69 age group: 18% of database
70 years of age: 8% of database