Thousands of trials are done every year and all of them need to recruit participants. Setting up trial sites to support this recruitment takes time, effort and money. Despite all this, not all trial sites go on to recruit as hoped. What would help is a way to predict whether a site would be a “good” recruitment site.
The Estimating Site Performance–2 project (ESP2) aims to test a tool that might help. The project aims to include experiences from across the globe, which will ensure that the findings and recommendations that follow are globally relevant.
The tool being tested is a checklist that asks the person who has just set up a trial recruitment site to consider eight ‘red flags’ for recruitment (e.g. lack of site staff engagement, or previous poor performance) and then make a prediction as to whether the site will hit its recruitment target or not. The flags were developed in a project published in Trials in 2019: .
ESP2 needs 1000 recruitment predictions. Predictions are recorded using a web-based system at . After a prediction has been made, the ESP2 system will contact you again six months later and then again at 12 months to see how recruitment is going.
At the end of the project we will have tested a simple, evidence-based tool for predicting site recruitment success. Having such a tool would mean that we could make informed decisions about how much effort to devote to individual sites, or whether to look for alternative sites. The intention is to stop using resources on sites that we know are highly unlikely to recruit. Additionally, if we get predictions from around the world, we will be able to say whether there are differences depending on where predictions are made, or whether we have in fact got a globally applicable trial recruitment prediction tool.