Failure to enroll enough patients is one of the primary reasons clinical trials fail. Direct mail, advertising and social media help raise awareness, but do they bring in an adequate number of qualified patients for every trial?

Principal investigators play a critical role in converting interested patients to enrolled, consented participants. Those who have established relationships with patients or who take the time to build those relationships have better odds of success.

For example, an infectious disease specialist at St. Vincent’s Ascension in Birmingham, Alabama, recruited a diverse group of 200 participants for a COVID-19 study at the height of the pandemic. He succeeded because he had built trust with his patients over many years, and because he worked for an organization with deep roots in the city.

Trust is only one part of a multifactored equation investigators can use to meet enrollment goals more consistently. Other elements involve a proactive approach to patient outreach, communication and engagement.


Arnold Silva, M.D., Ph.D.
Founding Physician Partner and Director of Clinical Research
Boise Kidney & Hypertension Institute, in partnership with Frenova