Patient Pre-Screening – A Great Missed Opportunity For Today’s Trial Enrollment Process

Pre-screening prospective study participants is a standard procedure at most clinical research facilities. As such, it’s time-saving to identify people eligible for research before having them go through the informed consent process. A clinical research organization like Veristat can conduct pre-screening procedures in person, by phone, or in certain circumstances, online. It’s crucial to recognize the role technology may play in this process. Whatever the data collection method, trial leaders must first examine the questions and any supporting script to ensure the supplied materials do not go beyond the inclusion/exclusion criteria parameters.

Most clinical trial leaders look to take pre-screening and enrollment to the next level in their clinical trials. The problem? Keeping up with changes in clinical trial enrollment patterns without adding to the workload at the sites with extra data entry is not easy. By preparing in advance, trial leaders can improve patient pre-screening and help meet their clinical trial enrollment goal.

Below, we look into how to optimize your pre-screening process and strengthen enrollment in your research.

Understanding Pre-screening (And How It’s Different from Screening)

Pre-screening is the activities trial leaders do before the informed-consent phase to determine whether patients are eligible or interested in clinical research. In other words, it refers to deciding eligibility before enrollment. It helps save time by ensuring only the most likely eligible participants proceed to the following qualification process—screening. Screening determines further activities after obtaining informed consent to determine patient eligibility.

What Information Can You Collect During the Pre-screening?

Pre-screening questions should focus on the clinical trial’s specific inclusion/exclusion criteria, like regular site visits during the study. It’s inappropriate to gather information directly related to assessing qualification and suitability during this process. Eligibility tests are only administered to eligible patients after getting their permission and signing the informed consent form. The questionnaires are either administered electronically or manually, but the process should be thorough to prevent losing qualified candidates for the trial. Pre-screening can be done over the phone. Just ensure you inform potential patients of the sensitivity of questions, whether they are in an excellent situation to answer the pre-screening question, and inform them of how long the phone call will last.

The Role of Technology in Pre-Screening

Considering the barriers of pre-screening, technology has provided an optimal approach to streamline the process and provide tools that simplify the entire process. Here are the advantages of using technology in the pre-screening process:

Reduce Staff’s Work

It’s straightforward: when you administer a pre-screening questionnaire online, you won’t need extra staff to be involved in manual data collection. This allows clinical trial researchers and sponsors to prepare for other critical activities in the trial enrollment process.

Technology can be used to survey multiple potential patients and quickly separate those who are most likely eligible from those who don’t qualify for the study. In other words, pre-screening technology gives early insights into the inclusion or exclusion criteria to avoid wasting time on ineligible patients.

Author Image
Caroline Young