clinical trials; patient recruitment; engagement; marketing; outreach; strategy


In our Patient Recruitment for Clinical Trials series, we take a look at the steps and process of executing a successful patient outreach initiative.

The research has been collected, the audience has been identified, and the content has been created. Now it’s time to bring it all together with outreach strategy for your clinical trial. A recruitment outreach plan serves as the roadmap for all communications and efforts that are to be implemented. To give your patient recruitment the best chances of success, you need a strong strategy behind it to steer the course.

With your content at the ready, you can begin building out your strategy while keeping these important questions in mind:


  • How many patients are ultimately needed? Be realistic about your patient funnel and adjust your strategy to reach that initial audience at the top of the funnel. At the recruitment process goes on, potential participants will be filtered out for one reason or another. Don’t risk leaving your study short of what you need.
  • How long will the enrollment process take? Again, be realistic. You do not want to rush the timeline and end up severely lacking in patients. Historical data will be very important to take into consideration here.  


Consider each of these pathways when building your outreach strategy:

Social Media

Outreach through social media can be one of the strongest strategies in patient recruitment. Posts should come from your study center, hospital department or research division. Content on social media takes many forms but you are likely to see the most engagement and interest with enticing media such as photos, graphics, and videos. Using the right hashtags will also help your content gain attention from the professionals and patients that you want.

For even broader reach, consider putting some money into social ads on Facebook or Twitter. This paid content, using what you know about your ideal patients, will put your study in front of your target audience.



There are several websites available that, for a small fee, compile open clinical trials and allow people to search based on disease and geographic location. Two such sites are Clinical Connection and Center Watch. Organizations or advocacy groups for the disease being studied may also keep their own databases of enrolling clinical trials.

Another online tactic you will want to consider is paid search. While social ads will help reach the people who are active on social media, not everyone is. Covering your bases with search advertisements on Google will help you reach the largest possible audience.


Depending on the individual policies, hospital campuses may allow for flyers to be placed at community boards or other designated locations where they are visible to the public. Be sure to confirm the rules beforehand and check that the patient population will likely fit your trial’s eligibility criteria. For best results, flyers should have an eye-catching design, be clear about who is eligible, and have contact information prominent.


Without patients, a clinical trial cannot exist. Your recruitment efforts should never be an after thought or a last-minute detail. It is paramount to your enrollment success. When your outreach strategy is well-planned and properly executed, you give your study the best odds of drawing in a larger pool of patients and keeping your timeline on track.

Want more Patient Recruitment for Clinical Trials? Come back again next week for the next installment!

Need help with clinical trial outreach? Contact us here.