Recent Cochrane Methodology Reviews

At the end of February 2016, we published a new Cochrane Methodology Review of strategies that might be used by researchers to help healthcare professionals to recruit participants to trials. The search of the literature found 11 studies that assessed recruitment strategies used with healthcare staff in search of the literature in January 2015. Five studies tested an alert system, either a computer system or member of staff to check patient records, to alert staff recruiting participants that someone might be suitable for the study. Four studies tested giving additional information about the study to the staff at hospitals or clinics who are recruiting peopleand two studies tested the effects of having a designated member of staff whose primary role was to recruit participants. All the studies identified were of quite low quality, so it is difficult to draw firm conclusions. Alert systems showed some promising results but were not unanimous in their findings. The studies that evaluated the provision of additional information, visits or education to the sites recruiting participants found that none of the tested strategies led to improved recruitment. The most promising strategy appears to be the employment of someone such as a clinical trials officer or research nurse with the specific task of recruiting participants to research studies. The two studies using this strategy showed improvement in recruitment rates but both were at high risk of bias.