Study Recruitment Resources

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Having trouble recruiting participants?

Recruiting participants who are a good match for your study can be very challenging.  You’re not alone – a startling number of clinical studies at OHSU never enroll a single participant. In addition to traditional advertising and outreach through clinics, there are a variety of tools and resources that can help investigators identify potential participants.


It is important to assess the feasibility of a protocol prior to implementing it to ensure that it is successful. Here are some helpful tools to assist you in assessing the feasibility of your project:

  • Protocol feasibility checklist: A checklist designed to help you determine if a protocol can be successfully conducted. 
  • Cohort Discovery: A web-based tool administered by OCTRI that uses Epic data to estimate the number of potential study participants based on criteria provided by you. 
  • AccuralNet: An online project of the National Cancer Institute that has several tools to help evaluate study feasibility. This information on this site is useful for non-cancer studies as well. 

How can OCTRI help with recruitment?

Recruitment Services

  • Cohort Discovery for Count Requests
    Researchers can generate counts of OHSU patients with specific characteristics from OHSU's Integrated Health Record, Epic. This tool is useful to determine if the population you are looking for is available here at OHSU. Additionally, with the appropriate IRB approvals, you can use the query you have built to request an identifiable list of potential participants to contact for recruitment. 
  • Epic Data for Research PurposesUsing the Research Data Warehouse, you can work with an OCTRI analyst for more detailed queries of the electronic medical record in order to obtain lists of potential participants or to gather data directly for analysis.
  • Research Recruitment Tools in Epic: There are features within Epic that may be useful in recruiting patients for research studies, such as MyChart or Best Practice Advisories. You can work with the Epic Research Team to determine if these methods might be appropriate for your study. 
  • Clinical Research Development Team: A meeting with local experts in operational aspects of clinical trials at OHSU. An hour long meeting can be arranged to review your study and accrual goals and brainstorm solutions. If your study is a multi-site clinical trial this meeting may lead to accessing national resources through the Trial Innovation Network. 
  • Research Volunteer Registry and BiorepositoryOCTRI maintains a registry of people who are interested in participating in research at OHSU. Investigators can request contact information for potential participants or if samples are needed, researchers can request blood and urine specimens from the biorepository.  
  • Study CoordinatorsOCTRI study coordinators are in high demand because they consistently display professionalism, attention to detail, and resourcefulness. They have a strong track record of using both traditional and innovative recruitment methods to craft realistic recruitment plans and to get studies back on target. For example, coordinators can help in making phone calls, staffing events for recruitment and hanging study recruitment posters. 
  • OCTRI's Research Volunteer Repository: OCTRI maintains a repository of participants willing to be contacted for clinical research opportunities. In addition to contact information, basic medical information and demographics the repository also includes bio-samples that can be used as normal controls for investigator projects. 
  • ResearchMatchResearchMatch is a national participant recruitment and feasibility analysis tool that is available for free to OHSU researchers. We have seen studies looking for participants with rare disorders have great success. This tool is also very useful for studies looking for participants to respond to surveys or questionnaires. 
  • OCHIN: Practice-based research network housing Epic data with a focus on community-based research. OCHIN provides a valuable opportunity to work with small clinics that serve rural, low-income, an under-insured (as well as the uninsured) populations. Consult with network staff to find out if your study is a good opportunity for collaboration.
  • Trial Innovation Network (TIN): For multi-site research the CTSA network has established the Trial Innovation Network. A component of the network includes the Recruitment Innovation Center which can provide consultation and recruitment materials or planning for multi-site studies. If you are interested in applying for a service with the TIN please contact OCTRI's TIN Liaison, Kitt Swartz ( 

Not sure where to begin?

If you aren't sure where to start contact the to discuss your project.