Patient Recruitment in Oncology Trials: Understanding the Patient’s Perspective

Life Sciences, Clinical Trials, Patient Recruitment & Retention,
  • Thursday, September 12, 2019

Although the percentage varies by country, only a small fraction — an estimated 8.1 percent — of patients participate in oncology clinical trials. Reasons for not participating vary by patient, but some key reasons cited include lack of patient awareness about available trials, communications challenges in the recruitment process, desire to remain with the “standard of care”, or study protocol misalignment with patient needs. Given the high unmet patient need, sites must understand the patient journey from their perspective and strive to meet patients where they are to recruit patients effectively. When evaluating this journey, it is important to look beyond the treatment pathway; focusing on the course of the disease, to their emotional pathway — including how they are responding physically and emotionally, when and where they seek support and where they find information.

Understanding this emotional pathway provides crucial insights into the uniqueness of each patient.

Patient participation in oncology trials ultimately requires a thoughtful discussion between the patient, influencing caregivers, the investigator and their primary oncologist. Tools, such as social listening, insights from physicians and conversations with patient advocacy groups can inform and optimize recruitment strategies. Conversations with these patients should acknowledge their declining emotional strength and the role of others in their support network in decisions related to any participant in a trial.

Understanding exactly how patient recruitment for any trial should fit into both the treatment and emotional pathway helps investigative sites determine where they should look for patients — whether these are internal or external referrals.
Join this free webinar to learn about the importance of the patient perspective in successful oncology clinical trials.


Marie Emms, Vice President, Site and Patient Access, Syneos Health

Marie Emms’ career in healthcare communications began in 1997 working for the public relations group within Ogilvy Healthworld UK. Over the next 17 years, her experience moved into medical education before finally focusing her career on patient recruitment and retention within Fast4wD Ogilvy. Marie joined Syneos Health in 2016 and has spent the past three years supporting both clinical and commercial clients with their patient engagement needs. Marie’s passion lies in enabling clinical sites to best support their patients through the clinical trial journey, from initial awareness through consent to compliance and adherence. She has worked on a wide variety of tumor types across pediatric and geriatric populations.

In her role as Head of Patient Engagement, she is responsible for developing engagement programs to support patient recruitment and retention globally across all Syneos Health studies.

Message Presenter

Drew Glenn, Integration Strategist, Applied Data Science & Media, Syneos Health

As Strategist of Integration for Syneos Health, Drew Glenn is charged daily with championing data science and media integration between clinical and commercial projects. Built on an entirely new engagement model, Drew helps drive an integrated omni-channel approach to deliver the clinical trial faster, with less risk, backed by a more data-driven approach. Drew is backed by over 19 years of B2B & DTC strategy, brand, marketing and sales experience with several Fortune 500 companies. Most recently, Drew was an Innovation Strategist with Syneos Health championing innovative thinking and doing through extensive research and closely following shifting expectations. Prior to joining Syneos Health’s Strategy team, Drew led several projects with Syneos Health’s largest agency, GSW. Those projects included being the strategic lead on a global scale virtual reality project with UCB as well as key roles with UCB’s Brivact launch, Foundation Medicine, Eli Lilly Oncology and Johnson & Johnson.

Message Presenter

Angela Hirst, Director, Site and Patient Access, Syneos Health

Angela Hirst commenced her career by gaining her nursing qualification from the University of Sheffield in 1995. She entered Oncology Nursing at Christie Hospital in Manchester and ultimately became the lead breast cancer research nurse at the Royal Preston Hospital.  She quickly identified potential recruitment opportunities across two other hospital sites, which resulted in an increase in patient recruitment and future research opportunities for the trust. Upon leaving the NHS, Angela was a Site Lead within IQVIA’s Access to Patients program, before becoming IQVIAs lead oncology feasibility manager responsible for large and complex opportunities. Angela also has extensive experience gained in the commercial setting as an Oncology Product Manager for a range of portfolios for Fresenius Kabi.

Angela is currently the Director of Site and Patient Access responsible for Catalyst Oncology and Ophthalmology networks, building and maintaining strong relationships with sites and creating ecosystems to predict the successful delivery of clinical trials.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

Professionals from biopharmaceutical companies and solution providers involved in:

  • Clinical Trial Feasibility
  • Site Identification
  • Investigator Site Staff/ Study Site coordination



What You Will Learn

Participants will learn about:


  • Insights into tools and methods to enhance understanding where patient recruitment for a trial fits into treatment pathways
  • Recognizing patient emotional pathways and their impact on optimized treatment pathways
  • Ways to target efforts in identifying patients for patient recruitment, to support patient and caregiver engagement
  • Optimizing/Targeting the information for patients and recruiting sites to support more effective patient recruitment outcomes



Xtalks Partner

Syneos Health™

Syneos Health™ (Nasdaq:SYNH) is the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization. Our company, including a Contract Research Organization (CRO) and Contract Commercial Organization (CCO), is purpose-built to accelerate customer performance to address modern market realities. Created through the merger of two industry leading companies – INC Research and inVentiv Health – we bring together approximately 24,000 clinical and commercial minds with the ability to support customers in more than 110 countries. Together we share insights, use the latest technologies and apply advanced business practices to speed our customers’ delivery of important therapies to patients. To learn more about how we are shortening the distance from lab to life®, visit

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