Focus on Digital Patient Recruitment

Michael Stadler, CEO and Founder

To kick-off our blog debut, it seems only appropriate to begin with our digital focus. I’m often asked why we specialize in online patient recruitment for clinical trials. Conventional wisdom has long suggested it takes a mix of outreach tactics to reach patients, which is the approach we chose in the early days of Clariness.

As time went by, digital patient recruitment tactics that began as an experiment consistently outperformed all of the other tactics combined.

Decision support came in the form of a stark reality that as long as we can remember, patient recruitment is consistently cited as a leading contributor to clinical trial delays.

Following our belief that fundamental change is the most likely path to standout results, we made a strategic decision to re-focus our infrastructure and resources on all things digital. Below are some of the greatest benefits of an all-digital focus.


I can’t overemphasize the importance of tracking and measuring performance on micro levels –across all the usual digital suspects, spanning PPC search engine, banner ads, text links, email ads, and others. No other advertising medium provides the end to end tracking and measurement of every campaign step, with full visibility of where the traffic flows, and more important, where visitors stop. Consumers now experience a multitude of touchpoints, from search, social, mobile, email etc., hence the need to track a visitor across every portion of the journey. We have the ability to go beyond channel analysis and the last touchpoint of conversion to explore what combinations of messaging, keywords channels work best together.


Perhaps the greatest advantage of working with a digital campaign is the ability to turn on a dime. If the patient recruitment campaign does not generate desired results? You can stop, re-start and re-direct anytime. Even more valuable is the ability to target and adjust on micro levels. Pause a campaign only for specific sites during their vacation time. Re-direct digital efforts to the sites who need it the most, away from sites who have met recruitment goals. Put all of your eggs in one basket for specific durations when necessary. Our teams do this on a daily basis.


Hands down, the cost of digital campaigns outperforms traditional methods. When sponsors choose to share comparative data with us from studies also involving traditional tactics; the difference is not only significant, but astounding. In a recent global study, the cost per referral for digital tactics was approximately one-fifth the cost of traditional media. Pleased with the early outcomes, the sponsor switched to an all-digital effort at midpoint of a campaign that also happened to be their largest clinical trial patient recruitment effort ever.

Digital Health Spotlight

The combination of an increased interest in patient knowledge about their own health and the availability of digital tools for the consumer to organize and coordinate that information, and connect with peers has explosive possibilities for health advances and the future of clinical research.

Taking wearable tech one step further, the introduction of Apple’s ResearchKit and Google’s wristband for clinical research are just some of the latest medical digital tools that will utterly change clinical research as we know it. Consumer adoption of always-on, medical devices that monitor, track and simplify complex tasks will make it even easier for patients to manage their own health, while providing clinical trial sponsors with greater precision that withstands regulatory rigor. What is most interesting to our industry is that Google and Apple’s star power can only bring greater, mass awareness of clinical research and the opportunities it offers. Connecting patients and trials can only drastically improve, with the convergence of lifestyle health to clinical applications.

The time is now for digital patient recruitment.