Recruitment and retention in clinical trials in chronic kidney disease: report from national workshops with patients, caregivers and health professionals

Patrizia Natale, Talia Gutman, Martin Howell, Kathryn Dansie, Carmel M. Hawley, Yeoungjee Cho, Andrea K. Viecelli, Jonathan C. Craig, Shilpanjali Jesudason, Jeremy R. Chapman, David W. Johnson, Lisa Murphy, Donna Reidlinger, Sally Crowe, Emily Duncanson, Shyamsundar Muthuramalingam, Nicole Scholes-Robertson, Amber Williamson, Stephen McDonald, Germaine WongArmando Teixeira-Pinto, Giovanni F.M. Strippoli, Allison Tong, Better Evidence and Translation in Chronic Kidney Disease (BEAT-CKD) Workshop Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Slow recruitment and poor retention jeopardize the reliability and statistical power of clinical trials, delaying access to effective interventions and increasing costs, as commonly observed in nephrology trials. Involving patients in trial design, recruitment and retention is infrequent but potentially transformational. 

METHODS: We conducted three workshops involving 105 patients/caregivers and 43 health professionals discussing patient recruitment and retention in clinical trials in chronic kidney disease. 

RESULTS: We identified four themes. 'Navigating the unknown'-patients described being unaware of the research question, confused by technical terms, sceptical about findings and feared the risk of harm. 'Wary of added burden'-patients voiced reluctance to attend additional appointments, were unsure of the commitment required or at times felt too unwell and without capacity to participate. 'Disillusioned and disconnected'-some patients felt they were taken for granted, particularly if they did not receive trial results. Participants believed there was no culture of trial participation in kidney disease and an overall lack of awareness about opportunities to participate. To improve recruitment and retention, participants addressed 'Building motivation and interest'.

CONCLUSIONS: Investigators should establish research consciousness from the time of diagnosis, consider optimal timing for approaching patients, provide comprehensive information in an accessible manner, emphasize current and future relevance to them and their illness, involve trusted clinicians in recruitment and minimize the burden of trial participation. Participation in clinical trials was seen as an opportunity for people to give back to the health system and for future people in their predicament.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-764
Number of pages10
JournalNephrology, dialysis, transplantation : official publication of the European Dialysis and Transplant Association - European Renal Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2020


  • chronic kidney disease
  • clinical trials
  • patient recruitment
  • patient retention
  • research


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