Recruitment has been much slower than predicted (50% of subjects recruited at seven months).
Recruitment results to date are: 1) 3,706 individuals identified as eligible using electronic data; 2) 156 enrolled; 3)
1,921 (50.4%) individuals not interested, 4) recent DM education (8.3%), and 5) Type 1 DM (2.1%). The electronic
data on the pool of potential subjects is often out of date by the time the subject is screened and randomized.
Refreshing the electronic data creates a moving target of potential candidates. A1C data and date of last
diabetes education change at a rate faster than the recruitment mailing, screening and randomization process.
Therefore, more time, programming, and staffing resources have been needed than originally anticipated to
recruit study participants.
The inclusion criteria included: Type 2 diabetes (DM), an A1C = 7 within 6 months of enrollment, and
diabetes education-naïve within the last year. Preliminary estimates of patient availability were calculated with the
following assumptions: 1) two ICD-9 codes for Type 2 DM (10,000 patients); 2) 52% with A1C = 7 (5,200); 3) 60%
with no DM education in the last 1-2 years (3,120); 4) 15% excluded with Type 1 or gestational DM (2,652); and 5)
15% willing to participate (397). Recruitment of 311 subjects was estimated to take five months.
This analysis of recruitment data demonstrates that initial recruitment capability estimates did not
account for the inefficiencies created by outdated data and refreshed electronic encounter data. Daily tracking of
all criteria for database accuracy has been a difficult and time-intensive task.
While a scientifically sound study design is the basis for all clinical trials, activities such as patient
recruitment present ongoing challenges. The availability of electronic data greatly enhances recruitment efforts,
but also may bring new problems. The Journey for Control of Diabetes: the IDEA Study, a randomized clinical
study conducted in two distant healthcare settings, utilizes an advanced electronic data system to identify and
recruit eligible participants. We believe that communication of difficulties encountered could help researchers
who face similar recruitment challenges.