Top 5 things to consider when recruiting for medical device evaluation studies

Successful participant recruitment for medical research requires an understanding of the healthcare industry, a natural aptitude for communication and a sensitivity around personal circumstance. Here’s our top five things to consider when recruiting for medical research studies.

1. Know your customer
Whether you’re looking to recruit healthcare professionals, patients or carers, people are naturally curious and will inevitably ask questions about a study they are looking to take part in, after all you’re asking them to provide their feedback on something they may or may not be familiar with. Our job as a recruiter is to provide candidates with enough information to spark interest so that they agree to take part, whilst respecting product and client confidentiality around study specifics. Making a good initial impression and keeping candidates informed throughout the recruitment process is key to building a strong relationship with participants.

2. Understanding the purpose behind a study
The sole purpose of conducting device evaluation studies is to find out if the product is usable, safe and easily understood by the target market. Put simply, it's to evaluate the experience people have when using the product (the "human factors" experience).

Participants usually ask what they can be expected to do during a study session and the answer can widely differ every time depending on the product and what the designer/manufacturer is looking for in terms of feedback. It could be an in-depth study lasting a few hours where the participant is asked to perform a number of task-based scenarios and answer several questionnaires regarding all aspects of the product, or it could be a study around a single element change in a product - for example updated wording in the instructions for use - that takes no more than a few minutes but is of equal importance to evaluate. The recruiter’s job is to keep participants satisfied on the study criteria and requirements so they are 100% comfortable in taking part, which helps avoid unnecessary drop outs and keeps retention rates high.

3. Knowing why people should participant
Our aim is to find willing and keen participants who are genuinely interested in advancing medical device technology based to their own circumstance, whether that is reflected in their job or through their own personal experience. The study should always recruit a broad spectrum of participants to ensure all opinions and experiences have been considered which drives the most accurate and realistic data results possible. Incentive fees to cover time and travel are usually supplied however these are usually set by the manufacturer and kept as low as possible to avoid undue bias.

Many participants who have taken part in a study are generally surprised about how interesting and involved the studies actually are, giving them the opportunity to discuss their experiences with the project team and provide all important feedback required to improve medical products. Many also let us know how they can’t wait to be involved in future studies!

4. In-Person vs. Online Studies
Whilst we do conduct some studies online (especially in recent times and with tech advancements being what they are), there is a slight preference to conducting face to face interviews. Having a dedicated study environment means that in-person studies are often more controlled, free from distraction with more opportunity to engage with the project team in open discussions for a deeper level of interaction. Studies are often recorded and can be reviewed at a later date by the project team/sponsor for any missed subliminal social cues or hesitations which can be easily overlooked when performing studies online.

Online studies do have their benefits, participants often feel more comfortable surrounded by their home comforts, there’s no commute or waiting around at potentially unfamiliar study locations and there’s a more streamlined approach with quicker turnaround times. Both have their benefits depending on the research outcome required.

5 New vs. Established Products?
Medical devices are constantly being improved or enhanced especially in the increasingly fast-paced digital world of AI. Many studies we recruit for now fall under this category, as every change to a product needs to be recorded, reviewed, tested - which is where we come in - documented and signed off before it can be released back onto the market. Manufacturers and product designers can create new products by building on and enhancing an existing device, using the feedback and knowledge obtained from a device evaluation study.

If you have a medical product or device that you are looking to test or if you are interested in participating in one of our studies, then please get in touch with Aderico Medical on 01264 334239.

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