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Best Practices in Pre-Screening Includes Use of Technology

Pre-screening potential patients for a clinical study is common practice at most research sites. It can save time by quickly identifying subjects who may qualify for a study, prior to having them move on to the informed consent process. Pre-screens can be done in person, over the phone, or in some cases, even online. The role technology can play in this process is important not to overlook. Regardless of the collection method, the questions and any accompanying script must first be reviewed by the IRB to ensure the materials presented are not beyond the scope of the inclusion/exclusion criteria.

When time is a precious commodity at a research site, it can be advantageous to delegate the pre-screening process to a non-clinical team member. Since the pre-screen itself cannot include any research procedures, it’s quite practical for anyone at the research site to conduct the pre-screen. It is important, however, to ensure the script used is well written and followed as closely as possible. A good script should:

As pre-screen questionnaires are completed, either manually or electronically, it is equally important to have an action plan to ensure eligible subjects don’t slip through the cracks and the information from those who didn’t meet the criteria are handled appropriately. Who will follow up with those who are eligible and when? Who will be responsible for managing the information collected? If the initial collection was done on paper, consider the advantages that maintaining this information electronically could provide:

Pre-screening is a common strategy to add to any patient recruitment campaign. To maximize your pre-screen activities, make sure you have a well-written script, ask the right questions, and have a follow up plan in place. Additionally, the use of technology to help manage your pre-screen paperwork can serve many purposes. With a good plan and the right technology, sites can streamline the pre-screen process and ensure they are identifying the right candidates for their study.

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