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European Pharmaceutical Contractor

Clinical Trial Recruitment and Retention: The Challenge of Creative Communications

As the UK pop groups 'Fun Boy Three' and 'Bananarama' sang in 1982: "It ain't what you do, it's the way that you do it, and that's what gets results". Speedy and appropriate patient recruitment and retention will get you results. To achieve speed and appropriateness, you need to communicate at all levels in a way that has meaning for your target audience. And in lay-land, you have probably only got one shot at getting this right.

Careful Pre-Planning and Questioning

Whether you are motivating your CROs, encouraging investigators, communicating with patients or navigating a narrow path through ethics committees, you need to constantly review what you are saying, to whom and why. Do any of these questions relate to you?

What is my recruitment message?
Who are my audience?
How does my audience like to receive information?
What are the best routes to dissemination of my message?
How can I motivate patients to comply?
How can I support investigators?
How can I pre-empt any retention difficulties and address them early?
How can I ensure that best practice in one site is properly disseminated to others worldwide?

It is also worth asking 'how much time have I got'? And crucially, 'what or where's my budget'? Followed by 'who can I get in to help me with all this'?


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By Emma Sergeant, Managing Director, and Alison Eden, Creative Director at Fast4wD

Emma Sergeant is Managing Director of Fast4wD, the specialist clinical trial patient recruitment and retention arm of The Shire Health Group. She trained as a nurse in both adult and paediatric medicine and has 17 years' experience in health care. Emma has had pharmaceutical industry roles in sales, post-market surveillance, market development, media relations, corporate communications and brand management for product launch and generic protection. Emma was the Director of Communications at National Asthma & Respiratory Training Centre, worked with the WHO and was advisor to the UK Government on lung cancer.

Creative Director for Fast4wD, Alison Eden directs the creative content of clinical trial recruitment and retention campaigns. Alison is a writer and editor with over 15 years' experience in specialist medical publishing and PR. She has also worked as a journalist, most recently for FDC Reports Inc on The Pink Sheet. She has an English Language and Literature degree from St Anne's College, Oxford.

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Emma Sergeant
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Alison Eden
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