Purpose: To respond to increased public and programmatic demand to address underenrollment of clinical translational research studies, the authors examined participant recruitment practices at Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) sites and make recommendations for performance metrics and accountability.
Method: The CTSA Recruitment and Retention taskforce in 2010 invited representatives at 46 CTSAs to complete an online 48-question survey querying accrual and recruitment outcomes, practices, evaluation methods, policies, and perceived gaps in related knowledge/practice. Descriptive statistical and thematic analyses were conducted.
Results: Forty-six respondents representing 44 CTSAs completed the survey. Recruitment conducted by study teams was the most common practice reported (78%–91%, by study type); 39% reported their institution offered recruitment services to investigators. Respondents valued study feasibility assessment as a successful practice (39%); desired additional resources included feasibility assessments (49%) and participant registries (44%). None reported their institution systematically required justification of feasibility; some indicated relevant information was considered prior to institutional review board (IRB) review (30%) or contract approval (22%). All respondents’ IRBs tracked study progress, but only 10% of respondents could report outcome data for timely accrual. Few reported written policies addressing poor accrual or provided data to support recruitment practice effectiveness.
Conclusions: Many CTSAs lack the necessary frame work to support study accrual. Recom men dations to enhance accrual include articulating institutional expectations and policy for routine recruitment plan ning; providing recruitment expertise to inform feasibility assessment and recruit ment planning; and developing interdepartmental coordination and integrated informatics infrastructure to drive the conduct, evaluation, and improvement of recruitment practices.