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VP55 Trial Recruitment & Retention Using Digital Tools: A Qualitative Study

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  31 December 2019

Abstract

Introduction

Recruitment of participants and their retention in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) is key for research efficiency. However, for many trials, recruiting and retaining participants meeting the eligible criteria is extremely challenging. Digital tools are increasingly being used to identify, recruit and retain participants. While these tools are being used, there is a lack of quality evidence to determine their value in trial recruitment.

Methods

The aim of the main study was to identify the benefits and characteristics of innovative digital recruitment and retention tools for more efficient conduct of RCTs. Here we report on the qualitative data collected on the characteristics of digital tools required by trialists, research participants, primary care staff, research funders and Clinical Trials Units (CTUs) to judge them useful. A purposive sampling strategy was used to identify 16 participants from five stakeholder groups. A theoretical framework was informed from results of a survey with UKCRC registered CTUs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted and analysed using an inductive approach. A content and thematic analysis was used to explore the stakeholder's viewpoint and the value of digital tools.

Results

The content analysis revealed that ‘barriers / challenges ‘ and ‘awareness of evidence’ were the most commonly discussed areas. Three key emergent themes were present across all groups: ‘security and legitimacy of information’, ‘inclusivity’, and ‘availability of human interaction’. Other themes focused on the engagement of stakeholders in their use and adoption of digital technology to enhance the recruitment/retention process. We also noted some interesting similarities and differences between practitioner and participant groups.

Conclusions

The key emergent themes clearly demonstrate the use of digital technology in the recruitment and retention of participants in trials. The challenge, however, is using these existing tools without sufficient evidence to support the usefulness compared to traditional techniques. This raises important questions around the potential value for future research.

Type
Vignette Presentations
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019

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