The rise of sophisticated software solutions in clinical trials is equipping sponsors and their CROs with the advanced tools necessary to tackle the increasing complexity of today’s studies. From EDC to eCOA, we have seen almost every trial activity transformed by SaaS, typically resulting in more efficiency, accuracy, collaboration, and transparency.

A wide range of SaaS solutions have now matured as categories, and recent years have seen a new one burst onto the scene. Patient Recruitment Platforms (PRPs) are one of the newest innovations in clinical trial software, with the potential to completely transform the patient recruitment and enrolment workflow.

What is a Patient Recruitment Platform?

A Patient Recruitment Platform is a vendor-agnostic Software as a Service (SaaS) solution that gathers patient journey data from all sources into one place. This makes it very different from the single-vendor recruitment tracking tools that sponsors may be familiar with. Such portals offer a single view into one recruitment vendor’s work, while PRPs aggregate data from all vendors and centralise the entire funnel onto a single dashboard, with analytics to help sponsors understand how things are going. PRPs also provide a convenient place for site staff to pick up referrals and take the actions needed to move those patients forward.

There are several core features that a PRP must have in order to be considered for this category. For example, the system must be able to manage patient journeys and referral progress across all sources in a GDPR/HIPAA compliant way, with flexible ways to enter candidates into the system and the ability to roll out protocol-specific eligibility pre-screeners.

As patients near enrolment, the PRP should help sites triage participants between cohorts and studies, and provide sponsors with real-time site activity logs so they can keep on top of things. Finally, the software should offer sponsors detailed analytics for every step of the recruitment funnel, helping them understand where dropouts are occurring and what can be done to improve results.

How will a Patient Recruitment Platform benefit sponsor companies?

Today’s clinical trial recruitment process is highly fragmented, with sponsors often turning to as many recruitment sources and partners as budget will allow. It has become increasingly challenging for sponsors to get a good view on recruitment progress in this environment, with a lot of manual effort required to understand whether they are even on track to meet targets, let alone what the best optimisations might be. As a result, sponsors are struggling to make the right decisions when it comes to bolting on additional recruitment methods or sites, often leading to a low return on investment.

Patient Recruitment Platforms were designed to help the industry overcome these very challenges. By automatically standardising data from disparate sources into a unified format, they give sponsors the eyes to understand exactly how recruitment and enrolment activities are progressing in real-time and can even provide transparent ROI and actual spend analytics by source, channel and country. This means that if recruitment is lagging, sponsors can make the right decisions to get it back on track.

How can a Patient Recruitment Platform help sites?

Most sites have become overwhelmed by the abundance of clinical technology forced upon them nowadays – will another platform just add to the burden? Not in the case of Patient Recruitment Platforms, which simplify and streamline the entire recruitment and enrolment workflow for sites.

Instead of managing various systems to process patient referrals, sites now have one interface where they can do it all. While all PRPs should handle pre-qualification activities such as self-assessment, some companies even perform a live medical secondary assessment so sites don’t waste their time with low-quality referrals. PRPs can also provide options for communicating with the patient in-platform, with notes saved for each patient’s preferred mode of contact and time to get in touch.

What should I look for in a Patient Recruitment Platform?

Like all clinical software, PRPs are not created equal. As the category expands in the future, it’s important for sponsors to understand which products could transform their enrollment strategies and which will just add bloat. The quality of the analytics can make a huge difference. A good PRP should not only report on status in real-time but provide the insights needed to make significant improvements. It could be as simple as a tweak to the self-assessment questionnaire if one question seems to be excluding the majority of interested patients, or might involve revising the recruitment strategy based on what is and isn’t currently working at both the vendor and site-level.

There are many more considerations when evaluating PRPs. GlobalData and Trialbee recently collaborated to create a detailed guide to Patient Recruitment Platforms.

In the guide, you will find:

  • Lists of essential features, value-adding features, and differentiators
  • Trends that will shape the future of PRPs as the category evolves
  • A comprehensive checklist for evaluating various PRP solutions
  • Questions to put to yourself and potential vendors as you get ready to take the next step.

With more sponsors becoming aware of this emerging technology category, PRPs are set to take off in the next few years, with new entrants expected to follow. Get a head start by downloading the whitepaper below.