Digital methods are increasingly being utilized within the clinical trial patient recruitment tactical mix. While there are many upsides to embracing this modern way of reaching and enrolling patients, we know sites can struggle to manage the quantity of referrals generated by this type of patient recruitment in clinical trials. This is where our new Navigator service can help, ensuring clinical trial recruitment for our clients’ studies is not hindered by a lack of capacity. Digital recruitment methods typically result in larger volumes of patient referrals, but many of these tend to be of lower quality. The process of identifying those who are eligible for the study from these referrals takes longer as a result. A potential knock-on effect may be that patient recruitment deadlines are missed, which can have major financial implications for sponsors. Our Navigator service aims to overcome this hurdle by giving sponsors and sites the extra support necessary to ensure higher quality and engaged referrals, freeing up site staff to focus on the science and other areas of patient care.

Alleviating the burden of digital referrals

Where studies may have previously struggled to find and recruit clinical trial patients, digital marketing and other tools are helping to fill the gap. Online methods have the ability to reach audiences easily and are generally a more cost-effective option compared with offline techniques [1], but challenges remain. From our own experience, we know digital marketing and other online patient recruitment methods have the potential to expedite the enrollment of participants into clinical trials. But recruitment is about more than just reaching people and sparking enough interest in them to register their interest in a study. If sites don’t have the capacity to manage the number of clinical trial patient referrals generated through digital techniques, the efficiencies gained by using this method are arguably lost. With sites often juggling numerous clinical trials at once, with all the practical and administrative aspects that each one involves, and facing other time and resource pressures, the pre-screening process for all these referrals can easily become unmanageable. Our Patient Navigators solve this problem by acting as the linchpin between potential trial participants and sites.

Pre-screening support for sites

Our specialist Navigator team, all of whom have direct clinical research experience, are on hand to add an additional layer of pre-screening support to identify which digital referrals are most suitable for the clinical trial in question. 

The benefits of this are two-fold:

  1. Patients having a consistent point of contact and feeling valued and supported even before they have joined a trial
  2. Site staff having more time to concentrate on other aspects of the clinical trial, optimizing the efficiency of the overall study

Our Patient Navigators jump into action as soon as someone registers their interest online. They will contact each person by phone to complete a further layer of pre-screening and, if successful, arrange their site visit. For patients who attend their appointment and give their consent to participate in the study, their details will be passed to site staff who can then take the trial forward. Sites will only ever receive high-quality and engaged referrals.

Of course, the support our Navigators provide does not have to end there. Our team has the capacity to manage participant engagement and retention for the entire duration of the study.

Supporting sites by supporting patients

Retaining participants in clinical trials is just as important as recruitment. Our Patient Navigators provide direct and ongoing engagement until the study reaches its endpoint – even if that takes several years. For more information, read our blog post on how our Navigator service is supporting patients to navigate their clinical trial journey for better study outcomes. Our Navigator service has been built for sites with patients at its heart. By focusing on what clinical trial participants need and value from pre-screening right through to the trial endpoint, we alleviate the time and resource burden faced by sites to ensure patient engagement for your trial produces the best recruitment and retention outcomes for clinical trial success. 

Speak to us to discuss the benefits of utilizing our Navigator service to support your online patient recruitment methods for your studies.



  1. Brøgger-Mikkelsen M, Ali Z, Zibert JR, Andersen AD, Thomsen SF. Online Patient Recruitment in Clinical Trials: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Med Internet Res. 2020;22(11):e22179. Published 2020 Nov 4. doi:10.2196/22179