Recruitment Strategies of a Decentralized Randomized Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial: The Canagliflozin Impact on Health Status, Quality of Life and Functional Status in Heart Failure (CHIEF-HF) Trial

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Journal of cardiac failure


BACKGROUND: There has been growing Interest in patient-centered clinical trials using mobile technologies to reduce the need for in-person visits. The CHIEF-HF (Canagliflozin Impact on Health Status, Quality of Life and Functional Status in Heart Failure) trial was designed as a double-blind, randomized, fully decentralized clinical trial (DCT) that identified, consented, treated, and followed participants without any in-person visits. Patient-reported questionnaires were the primary outcome, which were collected by a mobile application. To inform future DCTs, we sought to describe the strategies used in successful trial recruitment.

METHODS: This article describes the operational structure and novel strategies employed in a completely DCT by summarizing the recruitment, enrollment, engagement, retention, and follow-up processes used in the execution of the trial at 18 centers.

RESULTS: A total of 18 sites contacted 130,832 potential participants, of which 2572 (2.0%) opened a hyperlink to the study website, completed a brief survey, and agreed to be contacted for potential inclusion. Of these, 1333 were eligible, and 658 consented; there were 182 screen failures, due primarily to baseline Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire scores' not meeting inclusion criteria, resulting in 476 participants' being enrolled (18.5%). There was significant site-level variation in the number of patients invited (median = 2976; range 73-46,920) and in those agreeing to be contacted (median = 2.4%; range 0.05%-16.4%). At the site with the highest enrollment, patients contacted by electronic medical record portal messaging were more likely to opt into the study successfully than those contacted by e-mail alone (7.8% vs 4.4%).

CONCLUSIONS: CHIEF-HF used a novel design and operational structure to test the efficacy of a therapeutic treatment, but marked variability across sites and strategies for recruiting participants was observed. This approach may be advantageous for clinical research across a broader range of therapeutic areas, but further optimization of recruitment efforts is warranted.


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ePub ahead of print