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Patient Recruitment and Enrollment in Clinical Trials

June 23, 2022

For many clinical research staff members, recruiting participants for a study poses a challenge – sometimes a bigger challenge than conducting the actual trial itself. Delays in recruiting participants will by default extend the study’s timeline, ultimately delaying the treatment’s arrival to the market at the end of the trial.

The infographic below outlines how the public learns about clinical trials, why they participate, and the enrollment challenges trials pose.

Patient Recruitment and Enrollment Infographic

Download a larger version of the infographic

Patient Recruitment and Enrollment in Clinical Trials

How do people learn about clinical trials?

The breakdown of where participants come from includes 72% are already patients at the site and 28% are new patients.

The public’s top five sources for clinical research information include:

What are some reasons people participate in clinical trials?

The top perceived benefits are:

The importance of factors when choosing to participate in a study are:

What are some common enrollment challenges?

37% of site under-enroll study volunteers while 11% of sites are failing to enroll a single patient. Nine out of 10 trials meet enrollment goals if original timelines are doubled. In terms of the public’s interest in participating in studies, 70% haven’t considered clinical trials as an option when discussing treatment with their doctor, while 19% are not willing to participate in a clinical research study and 7% are unsure if they are interested in participation.

The top perceived risks of participating in a study include:

In general, there is little awareness in the public. About 40% are not very confident they would find a clinical study right for them and close to 70% have never or rarely considered clinical studies as an option when discussing treatment with their doctor. However, there is hope for enrollment rates to improve. 74% express interest in discussing clinical trial participation from an online peer community and 94% of volunteers would participate in a clinical trial study again.


1. http://www.isrreports.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/ISR-The-Expanding-Web-of-Clinical-Trial-Patient-Recruitment-Whitepaper.pdf
2., 6., 9.-11. https://www.ciscrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2017-CISCRP-Perceptions-and-Insights-Study-Decision-Making-Process.pdf
3., 7., 8. https://www.ciscrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2017-CISCRP-Perceptions-and-Insights-Study-Perceptions-and-Knowledge.pdf
4. https://www.ciscrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2017-CISCRP-Perceptions-and-Insights-Study-Decision-Making-Process.pdf
5. https://www.healthworkscollective.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/jan-feb_2013_ir_summary.pdf
12. https://www.ciscrp.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/2017-CISCRP-Perceptions-and-Insights-Study-Participation-Experience.pdf

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