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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2011;2011:1489-98. Epub 2011 Oct 22.

A real-time screening alert improves patient recruitment efficiency.

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Department of Biomedical Informatics, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The scarcity of cost-effective patient identification methods represents a significant barrier to clinical research. Research recruitment alerts have been designed to facilitate physician referrals but limited support is available to clinical researchers. We conducted a retrospective data analysis to evaluate the efficacy of a real-time patient identification alert delivered to clinical research coordinators recruiting for a clinical prospective cohort study. Data from log analysis and informal interviews with coordinators were triangulated. Over a 12-month period, 11,295 were screened electronically, 1,449 were interviewed, and 282 were enrolled. The enrollment rates for the alert and two other conventional methods were 4.65%, 2.01%, and 1.34% respectively. A taxonomy of eligibility status was proposed to precisely categorize research patients. Practical ineligibility factors were identified and their correlation with age and gender were analyzed. We conclude that the automatic prescreening alert improves screening efficiency and is an effective aid to clinical research coordinators.

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