Some clinical trial recruitment programs in Australia and New Zealand lose up to two months in recruitment time when they stop over the summer holidays because Clinics close.
This is two months of valuable time and money lost.
Typically Clinics are closed from December 20th to mid January but can extend to up to two months with PIs and Study Coordinators going on leave over December and January.
But it doesn't have to be like that.
From our 15 years of experience running patient recruitment news media programs the summer break is actually a great time to be getting your Study news in the media and so out to potential patients. In fact, it's a perfect environment for recruitment because people have more time to read/watch health news, and news media editors have more demand for health news stories.
Most importantly a summer recrutiment campaign will give Clinic staff a strong pipeline of people to contact when they open in 2016.
So consider the value of recruiting over the summer break.
How to recruit over the holidays
What Digital Mantra Group does with our product TrialWire is get Study news featured in the news media. We work with journalists and get them news stories about a particular research Study and we always share with them the Study website or Clinic contact details so people can respond when they see the news.
So if the Clinics are closed how do potential patients contact the Study?
The secret here is communication channels.
Forget phone numbers over this period - voicemails get full and will annoy people instantly. This is the time to take phone numbers off the Study or Clinic websites.
Instead, offer an email address as the primary contact with an auto reply that says "Thank you, we are closed at the moment but will be in contact with you as soon as we return on DATE". You can also include some more information about the Study or a flyer or poster.
So why might potential patients be more open to Study news over the summer break?
- People have time to research
Potential patients have time to read and consume news and media because they are on holidays. They read magazines, watch TV and listen to the radio - plus spend more time online and researching. Remember 1 in 20 Google searches are now about health.
- New Year's resolutions and health
Everyone seems to be reviewing their health over this time including ways to better manage chronic conditions, or finding a cure can become a top priority. People are therefore more open to the idea of joining a Study than they would be during the year.
- Referrals happen when people get together with family
It is well known that family members are top referral points for solutions to medical conditions. People are more open about conditions with family and so family members will share new research and information they have read or seen.