Emma’s Enrollment Etiquette: an Insider’s Approach for Successful Recruitment - Introduction
In this blog series, written by Emma Joyce, Senior Enrollment Specialist at ClinEdge, we explore the operations of an Enrollment Team. We will discuss the benefits of utilizing an Enrollment Specialist and the impact their services have on patients, sponsors, and sites.
Walking out of a doctor’s appointment and leaving with the recommended over the counter option in mind or a prescription in hand, I never considered what had to happen before I was able to access the treatment I needed. I’m sure most people don’t.
Prior to working in clinical research, I had no idea how much actually goes on behind the scenes. Entering my position as a Senior Enrollment Specialist, I was overwhelmed by the amount of information I was expected to absorb and retain. It became evident that adaptability, exceptional organizational skills, the ability to effectively communicate, and a willingness to learn on the go would be essential for success in my new role.
Learning the intricate steps involved in the process of drug development and committing each one to memory was challenging. Initially, not unlike my study abroad experience in Spain, it felt like everyone around me was speaking a foreign language comprised of niche terminology and a plethora of acronyms I couldn’t begin to dissect; HIPAA, CRO, FDA, GDPR, FQ, BSA, IRB, “Cc me” – wait, what? Unfortunately, unlike Spanish, I wasn’t able to master this foreign language quite as easily. I found myself asking, “Does everything, literally EVERYTHING, necessitate sending an email and/or require a read receipt?” Adjusting to my new environment, immersed in the world of clinical research, I quickly encountered the answer to that question, which was, and for the most part still is, “yes.”
Working in clinical research demands rigidity, as it relates to compliance, and conversely, requires a certain level of flexibility to think creatively in search of solutions. After gaining more insight into the industry, I developed a personalized approach to recruitment and enrollment, focused on the patient experience. Expanding my perspective, I acquired skills to identify potential obstacles within a protocol, and in turn, provide feedback that enables sponsors to realistically assess feasibility.
With so many moving pieces involved at various stages of recruitment and enrollment, the importance of developing a strong infrastructure cannot be overlooked. Emphasizing a team mentality and ensuring that the distinctive roles fulfilled by each team member do not go unnoticed or underappreciated fosters an environment that promotes efficiency.
Adhering to a study protocol without deviation is crucial. However, being able to recognize the need for balance between providing accurate information in accordance with IRB-approved language, and conveying the details in a way that resonates with the patient is just as important.
As an Enrollment Specialist, it is my job to directly engage with patients and establish rapport. Breaking down barriers, reducing stigma, connecting on a personal level, and exploring a full clinical trial experience, all within approximately fifteen minutes or less, is not an easy task. Enrollment Specialists are patient advocates who simultaneously serve as a liaison between site staff and study participants. Through the presentation of patient testimonials, Enrollment Specialists are able to voice concerns surrounding trial participation and are influential in developing strategies aimed at improving the patient experience.
Considering all of the initiatives and responsibilities that are in motion at a clinical research site on a daily basis, it is common for situations to arise that cause a lag between lead outreach attempts. As a result, these interested potential patients are not contacted in a timely manner and there is a reciprocal delay in their response. For example, requesting and documenting a patient’s preferred time of contact is a useful tactic aimed at increasing the overall connection rate, but it is only effective if a staff member is readily available to accommodate these individual requests. Identifying a centralized point of contact, more specifically an Enrollment Specialist, to facilitate streamlined communication, helps reassure a less confident patient about the risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial, and reduces the burden on site staff. Incorporating an Enrollment Specialist as a seamless extension of the team permits site staff to manage a larger workload more efficiently. By delegating the time-consuming tasks related to recruitment and pre-screening, a site’s focus is shifted off of the quantity of patients contacted and onto the quality of patient care.
Are you interested in reading more? In the next installment of our Enrollment Team blog series, we will elaborate on the importance of patient-centricity, establishing rapport, and Enrollment Team services aimed at retention.
Are you interested in learning more about what an Enrollment Specialist can add to your team? Watch the recording of our webinar for more information:
Post by Emma Joyce -
Emma Joyce is a Senior Enrollment Specialist at ClinEdge. Emma has worked both directly and indirectly as a patient advocate, and brings her passion for finding patient’s solutions to the research community.