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Invert to Convert: Rethinking Patient Recruitment

Despite advances in science, medicine and technology 90% of clinical trials have trouble meeting their enrollment targets for two primary reasons 1:

  1. Lack of potential participants
  2. Lack of site resources

The current industry model is to focus patient recruitment efforts at the top of the funnel, when we should flip the funnel to focus on addressing the site resourcing issue and convert recruits into enrollees.

Research shows the status quo is failing

  • 31.4 weeks average time from site identification to study start-up completion 2
  • 90%  of trials will meet their enrollment goals if original timelines are doubled 3
  • 25% of all clinical studies close because they fail to meet enrollment goals 4

The plight of sites

If traditional top-of-the-funnel recruitment strategies are a success, sites often become overwhelmed with referrals and therefore do not screen all candidates available. Take for instance:

  • 34% of referrals are never processed by the site, which is a huge lost opportunity given the investment made in the campaign 5
  • With top-of-the-funnel recruitment tactics, typically 9% of the subjects who are referred are scheduled 6
  • Under 1% of the total subjects responding to campaigns are consented 7

To convert, invert

Focusing efforts at the bottom of the recruitment funnel requires strategic and tactical planning, answering questions such as:

  • What’s the enrollment target?
  • What’s the deadline?
  • What are the recruitment sources?
  • Will the site handle prescreening? If not, how will that be managed?
  • Who will follow up on screening, appointment scheduling, and consenting?

To streamline these processes requires a resource that can serve as a second set of hands to the site to meet program goals. At WCG ThreeWire, we call them, Enrollment Assistants TM.

What are Enrollment Assistants?

On-site resources that act as a second set of hands. They are often an RN, a research assistant, or have previously held a study coordinator role.

Enrollment Assistants focus on known patients to the site to increase the likelihood of patient joining the trial. They can provide: Chart Review, direct site support, creative development, media outreach services, and much more.

Creating a customized, tailored solution for each site

WCG ThreeWire works with sponsors and CROs to identify the sites that need recruitment
assistance. Then, we customize the approach to each site’s unique needs.

With visibility and control of your patient recruitment efforts, Enrollment Assistants help to:

  • Provide site support services as an extension of your team
  • Provide flexibility by fulfilling a multitude of roles and duties at the site
  • Provide value and results – increasing enrollment rates by as much as 5x 8

The Results

  • Trials can begin sooner, often by several months 9
  • Provides a competitive edge for your study drug
  • Saves time and recoups investments

To learn how you can flip the funnel to deliver bottom-line results, contact us at


1. https://www.csdd.tufts.edu/files/uploads/jan-feb_2013_ir_summary.pdf
2. March/April 2017 Tufts CSDD Impact Report
3. https://www.csdd.tufts.edu/files/uploads/jan-feb_2013_ir_summary.pdf
4. WCG proprietary Knowledge Base
5. PAREXEL Biopharmaceutical R&D Statistical Sourcebook 2018/2019
6. PAREXEL Biopharmaceutical R&D Statistical Sourcebook 2018/2019
7. PAREXEL Biopharmaceutical R&D Statistical Sourcebook 2018/2019
8. WCG proprietary Knowledge Base
9. WCG proprietary Knowledge Base