Transitioning to Remote Recruitment and Intervention: A Tale of Two Palliative Care Research Studies Enrolling Underserved Populations During COVID-19

Abraham A. Brody, Kimberly A. Convery, Danielle M. Kline, Regina M. Fink, Stacy M. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Context: During the COVID-19 pandemic, community-based research studies experienced prolonged shutdowns unless able to pivot to remote study procedures. Objectives: To describe the revision of two National Institutes of Health funded community-based palliative-focused clinical trials serving underserved populations to accommodate remote subject enrollment and examine its impact. Methods: Transitioning to remote processes required multiple protocol and procedural changes including: altering informed consent processes; reducing the number of surveys administered; adding internet access as an inclusion criterion. To understand technological challenges, a screening tool was developed for one study to identify potentially eligible subjects’ technology abilities and accessibility. Results: Subjects’ limited access to the internet and internet-enabled devices and discomfort with technology led to changes in recruitment patterns. Lack of familiarity with technology increased the amount of time it took research team members and subjects to connect remotely. Patients with significant cognitive and/or sensory deficits were at higher risk of experiencing fatigue during remote study visits leading to streamlining of data collection. A researcher-developed technology screening tool found that potential subjects were not comfortable with videoconferencing through Zoom expressing a preference for phone visits. Reduced travel time made scheduling remote study visits more efficient. Conclusion: Future community- and home-based palliative care trials must consider the best way to utilize remote recruitment, enrollment, and data collection processes to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Researchers should consider technology accessibility and train staff to ensure the greatest possible opportunity to recruit underserved populations who have traditionally been underrepresented in research studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Pain and Symptom Management
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • Palliative care
  • dementia
  • lay navigator
  • recruitment
  • underserved population
  • virtual enrollment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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