Novel technologies for clinical trial recruitment in Australia

Recruiting participants for clinical trials can be a time-consuming and challenging process, but there are several innovative recruitment technologies that can be used to improve recruitment efforts.

The below highlights the four broad categories in which novel recruitment technologies for clinical trials recruitment in Australia are being utilised:

Digital advertising/campaigning: Digital methods include utilising social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn which can be powerful tools for recruitment. By creating targeted ads, using relevant hashtags, and engaging with potential participants, researchers can reach a large audience of people who may be interested in participating in their clinical trial.

Registers: These are portals or databases that allow researchers to find participants or participants to search for trials (or be matched to trials). Potential participants can also engage with the study providers through the technology provider’s webpage.

Platforms/Frameworks (including machine learning): Platforms/Frameworks require infrastructure integration that utilises data for recruitment. They often utilise machine learning and artificial intelligence, and can be used to improve clinical trial recruitment by identifying potential participants who match the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the trial. This include using techniques like Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP can be used to extract information from patient medical records, clinical trial descriptions, and other data sources. This information can then be used to identify potential participants who meet the eligibility criteria for a clinical trial. Technologies that utilise platform/frameworks often use data to help drive decisions and provide tailored recommendations based on preferences and medical history. They can streamline and optimize the clinical trial recruitment process, by identifying potential participants more efficiently and accurately, which can ultimately lead to faster and more successful clinical trials.

Artificial intelligence (AI): AI can be used to analyze large datasets including electronic health records (EHRs), social media, and other digital sources to identify potential participants who meet the criteria for a particular clinical trial. For example, AI can be used to search electronic health records (EHRs) for patients who have a particular condition or meet specific criteria for a clinical trial. By analyzing data from these records, AI algorithms can identify patients who are likely to meet the eligibility criteria for a particular trial. Additionally, AI can be used to identify patients who are likely to be interested in participating in clinical trials based on their online activity and social media profiles. This can help to identify patients who might otherwise be missed, particularly those who are underrepresented in clinical trials. Further to identifying potential participants, AI can also help to optimize the recruitment process by predicting which patients are most likely to enroll in a particular trial. By analyzing factors such as patient demographics, previous clinical trial participation, and other data, AI algorithms can identify patients who are most likely to be interested in participating in a particular trial and develop targeted recruitment strategies to engage them. This can help researchers identify eligible participants more quickly and efficiently.

Overall, there are many novel recruitment technologies available that can help researchers in Australia improve their clinical trial recruitment efforts. By using these technologies, researchers can reach a wider audience of potential participants with lower cost and identify eligible participants more quickly and efficiently.

ACTA has undertaken a scoping to identify the following novel technologies for clinical trial recruitment in Australia, and has classified these technologies based on the above categories:

Name of technologyRegisterArtificial IntelligencePlatform / Framework (including machine learning and NLP)OtherNotes
Evrima TechnologiesDigital advertising
Join Us
Australian Cancer Trials
Electronic Medical Record Systems
Specific to hospital sites, may utilise AI and/or platform/framework
OPYL/OpinTrial recruitment and design predictive analytics
ClinTrial Refer
StepUp Dementia
ClinialsDigital marketing/advertising
Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA)Recruitment through research referrals and social media/support groups/industry publications
Victorian Cancer Trials Link
HealthMatchDigital advertising and content (SEO), Proprietary medical ontology and matching algorithm
Hunter Medical Research
Antidote✓**Trial matching software
TrialfactsDigital advertising
Nativve Health Research✓**Framework, Digital campaign/advertising
InSite Feasibility (Oncoshot)

In addition to the above, there are the following:

Contract Research Organisations that offer downstream participant recruitment services into clinical trials:

  1. CMAX Clinical Research
  2. CSL Limited
  3. Nucleus Network
  4. GenesisCare
  5. ICON
  6. Medpace
  7. Australian Healthcare Solutions

Data collection platforms commonly utilised in clinical trial recruitment:

  1. REDCap
  2. Qualtrics

National strategies for recruitment into clinical trials currently underway:

  1. Teletrials
  2. National One Stop Shop