Provider-Related Issues

What motivates physicians to recruit?

Last Updated: Apr 17, 2015

As we all know, physicians play a pivotal role in patient recruitment to clinical trials. Unfortunately,  we also know that not all physicians are inclined to invite patients to participate in clinical research. You can probably quickly list a number of reasons that this happens --and you likely agree that a complex set of factors influence whether a clinician ultimately offers a particular clinical trials to given patients. Those factors may include interest in research, practical considerations, and a variety of patient factors.

In a Cochrane review article, Rendell et al. identify incentives and disincentives for patient recruitment based on analysis of 11 observational studies.

Among incentives, they list:

  • Interest in research and participating in an academic research group,
  • Comfort in explaining trials to patients,
  • The belief that clinical trials are expensive,
  • Available support staff,
  • Lower disease status/higher performance status of patients.

The major disincentives include:

  • Difficulty in explaining medical uncertainty,
  • Stringent trial entry requirements,
  • Paperwork burden,
  • Advanced patient disease stage,
  • Loss of control over patients’ care,
  • Randomization

From your experience, what are the strongest motivators for clinician participation in clinical trials and their willingness to recruit patients? What factors have a negative influence? Do you know of any interventions that have focused on increasing incentives and/or decreasing disincentives for recruitment?

Pamela's Image

In general, clinical trial is an organized biomedical research performed by professional on humans for the purpose of developing a new biomedical or behavioral knowledge, a new cancer drug or therapy for instance.  Those trials can be practiced on patients or healthy volunteers.

Some Pros that can motivate a physician include:

  • Safety and protection of participants;
  • Possible satisfying outcome
  • Professional advancement
  • Personal or financial gain
  • Justification for the research on participants
  • And adequacy, completeness and intelligibility of the written disclosures and the procedures.

Some Cons that can cause a physician to decline or be reluctant to participate include:

  • No financial personal gain
  • Possible fetal complications on the subjects
  • Low amounts or no compensation for participants
  • Incompetence or low qualifications of the investigator
  • Bad or unethical participant recruitment modalities.


Please Login or Register to post comments.