Recruitment Tools for Clinical Researchers

Recent research shows that nearly one third of clinical studies are terminated due to low enrollment.1 You can increase your chances of a successful study with adequate planning in the early stages of protocol development and active recruitment and retention activities during the study. OCTRI has compiled this list of online resources to help assess study feasibility and identify participants.

In addition, the Clinical Trials Office (CTO) at OHSU provides full study start-up services. In the recent underenrollment analysis, only 2% of the studies handled by the CTO had underenrollment compared to other industry studies at OHSU, which had a rate of ~38% during the same time period.


It is important when implementing a study to determine if the study is feasible, both from a recruiting and operational perspective.  Below are tools to assist with this analysis.

  • Protocol Feasibility Checklist 
    A checklist to assist with determining whether a protocol can be successfully conducted.
  • Cohort Discovery Tool
    A web-based tool from OHSU that uses Epic data to estimate the number of patients meeting a set of criteria defined by the researcher. Contact for more information.
  • AccrualNet
    This online project of the National Cancer Institute has several tools to help evaluate study feasibility. The information on this site is useful for non-cancer studies as well.


Determining how will you find eligible participants Is an important part of the study planning process. The links below will assist you in creating recruitment plans.

  • Research Match
    A national volunteer research registry that brings together researchers and willing volunteers who wish to get involved in research studies.
  • Research Data Warehouse
    Using Epic data, OHSU’s RDW can be used to develop a patient list for recruitment (with IRB approval).
  • AccrualNet
    A National Cancer Institute website contains step by step strategies for recruiting participants for both cancer and non-cancer related trials.
  • CTN Best Practices
    This Duke University website provides several resources to optimize recruitment, screening and enrollment.
  • Study Flyer and Advertisement Templates
    A number of study recruitment advertisement and flyer templates are available on the OHSU Branding site, including specific templates for Casey Eye Institute, Knight Cancer Institute, Doernbecher Children's Hospital, and the OHSU Brain Institute. You can customize these for your project. Remember, all study specific flyers and advertisements require approval by the OHSU Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to use. For more information on advertising for study subjects, please see the OHSU Research Integrity Office (ORIO) policy regarding advertising for study subjects.

Community Partners

The OCTRI Community & Practice Research program (CPR) provides consultative assistance to investigators on the methods and logistics of community research. Their relationships with Oregon communities and practice-based research networks (PBRNs) offer additional opportunities for partnerships that can increase enrollment. They provide consultations on partnering with community organization and PBRNs.

CPR's partners include:

To learn more about working with ORPRN or Safety Net West, please contact the OCTRI's


1 Kitterman DR, Cheng SK, Dilts DM, Orwoll ES. (2011). The prevalence and economic impact of low-enrolling clinical studies at an academic medical center. Acad Med 2011;86:1360-6.