Although the majority of patients recognize the benefits of participating in clinical research, recruiting study subjects remains a major roadblock to successful completion of a clinical trial. Recognizing that researchers need help in attracting volunteers, YCCI is launching a series of new services and initiatives that will leverage Yale’s electronic health records (EHRS) to recruit potential research subjects; vastly improve subjects’ experience; utilize a unique and novel advertising venue; and provide support for research staff that will increase accrual and allow them to concentrate on carrying out their studies.
In 2014, YCCI implemented a recruitment campaign running in a venue that had never before been utilized. Capitalizing on the ability of transit ads to reach both the greater New Haven and Yale communities, YCCI has placed ads for its Help Us Discover recruitment campaign on Yale’s entire fleet of shuttle buses that travel around the city as well as to surrounding towns and the West Campus. This is the first time that advertising has appeared on this mini-transit system, which provides a sustainable and inexpensive advertising forum. The campaign also includes posters, brochures, newspaper ads, radio spots, transit ads, Internet banners and community health fairs.
The advent of Epic (Yale’s electronic health record system that contains all clinical data for Yale patients) is enabling YCCI to find ways of linking research to patient care in profound new ways. MyChart includes a Help Us Discover tab that allows patients to set up a user profile for research participation without having to make a separate visit to yalestudies.org, YCCI’s clinical trials website for patients. The profile allows patients to sign up for trials; keep track of the kinds of studies that interest them; and edit their preferences. They are also directed to yalestudies.org, which has lots of useful content about clinical research and information for such special populations as children and such hard-to-reach populations as the elderly.
Linking yalestudies.org to Epic increases its potential to boost recruitment. The site’s Help Us Discover volunteer database already has approximately 9,000 names of people who have expressed interest in participating in clinical trials. YCCI operates a Recruitment Call Center to answer questions and can pre-screen callers for eligibility.