Dr Janet Valentine
Director, Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)
Dr Tim Williams
Head of Interventional Research, Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD)
Centralised electronic health records (EHR) can help clinical trial researchers improve efficiency of participant recruitment.
Over 50% of clinical trials fail to achieve their recruitment target which incurs significant cost and delay. Using mass media or sampling from known patient pools, results in high screen failures or misses most eligible patients. There is clearly scope for improvement.
Using EHR to find suitable patients
EHR have been extensively used in epidemiological research, but not yet routinely employed at scale to facilitate clinical trial recruitment. UK primary care EHR contain a patient’s longitudinal medical history, making them ideal for selecting participants who match trial criteria. The existing approach of local EHR searches at Patient Identification Centres lack the consistency, scale, efficiency and depth of centralised searches of comprehensive EHR population databases.
GPs only invite suitable highly selected patients to participate in trials, which reduces screen failures and saves patients’ time.
The Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) jointly supported by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and National Institute for Health Research has unparallel access to daily updated EHR from one in five general practitioner (GP) practices across the UK. Recognising the imperative to rapidly locate eligible patients from a wide population pool, we have harnessed the extensive GP network and EHR expertise to launch the Speedy Patient Recruitment INto Trials (SPRINT) service to accelerate targeted patient recruitment.
Locating highly selected patients
Drawing on 30 years of research experience, CPRD carries out regular centralised detailed searches of near real-time primary care EHR database according to protocol inclusion and exclusion criteria. Selected potentially eligible patients are flagged to their GP practice and validated based on clinical review. GP practices can be geo-located to any research setting, or any UK region for virtual trials.
GPs only invite suitable highly selected patients to participate in trials, which reduces screen failures and saves patients’ time. This community-based digitally enabled infrastructure sources refined pre-screened patients from the UK population. As such this new paradigm is aligned with an estimated 10% to 50% more efficient recruitment for suitable studies, remote approaches to patient recruitment emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.