Three Key Best Practices for Volunteer Communications in Clinical Trial Recruitment

Employ these best practices in telephone, email, and text message communications, to significantly enhance the effectiveness of your clinical trial recruitment efforts.
Rotary dial telephone

Apr 30, 2024

Are you and your staff adhering to these basic principles for clinical trial recruitment communications?

Effective communication with potential clinical trial volunteers is a crucial component of the recruitment process. It serves not only to inform but also to build a foundation of trust with participants. This is vital as they consider the significant decision of joining a clinical research study.

In the past, telephone communication was our primary means of contact. However, while it remains a viable option today, the advent of digital communication has introduced a variety of more efficient methods. This expansion in technology provides us with numerous alternatives that enhance our ability to reach out to potential prospects.

Here we delve into refined strategies for communication via telephone, email, and text messaging that can optimize your recruitment efforts and make each interaction count.


Telephone Communication

  • Personalize the Conversation: Begin each call by addressing the potential volunteer by their name, and clearly introduce yourself and your role. This personal touch helps establish a connection, making the individual feel acknowledged and valued right from the start. Personalization is key to breaking down barriers and fostering a comfortable dialogue where the participant feels secure and attended to.
  • Provide Clear and Detailed Information: Transparency is crucial. Clearly articulate the purpose of the trial, what will be expected of the participants, and outline any associated risks and benefits. It’s important to pace the conversation according to the participant’s comfort and understanding, allowing ample time for questions. Provide answers that are not only thorough but also easy to understand, ensuring that the participant feels well-informed.
  • Respect Privacy and Sensitivity: Ensure that all conversations are conducted with the utmost respect for the individual’s privacy. This is especially important when handling sensitive health information. Confidentiality must be maintained at all times to build trust and comply with ethical standards.

Email Communication

  • Clarity in the Subject Line: Use a subject line that is direct and informative, clearly indicating that the message pertains to clinical trial recruitment. This helps in setting the right expectations and ensures that the email is taken seriously and not overlooked as spam.
  • Comprehensive Details: Unlike brief texts or calls, emails provide an opportunity to delve into details. Include comprehensive information about the study’s purpose, duration, participant involvement, and procedures. Additionally, provide clear and accessible contact information for potential volunteers to reach out with further questions or to express interest.
  • Balance Professionalism with Personal Touch: While maintaining a professional tone, it’s crucial to also be personable and empathetic. Personalize the email to make the recipient feel directly addressed. This can enhance engagement and make the potential participant feel more comfortable and valued.

Text Messaging

  • Brevity Paired with Clarity: Text messages should be concise and focused. Clearly state that the communication is about clinical trial recruitment and include a direct call to action, such as a phone number or a link for more details. This helps in ensuring the message is effective and not intrusive.
  • Prioritize Consent: Always verify that you have explicit consent to contact potential volunteers via text. This not only respects their preferences but also ensures compliance with communication regulations and ethical standards.
  • Prompt Follow-ups: If a recipient responds with inquiries, it’s essential to reply promptly. This maintains their interest and demonstrates your commitment to engaging with them respectfully and attentively.


By employing these best practices in telephone, email, and text message communications, you can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your clinical trial recruitment efforts. Each interaction is an opportunity to advance medical research by engaging informed, motivated, and respected participants, ultimately contributing to the success and integrity of your study.

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