Phone Screening

The Phone Screening stage is your participant’s first major interaction with your study and study staff. Tailoring your communication will not only build the foundation of the participant-researcher relationship but also increase the amount of referrals willing to participate.

Here are the 5 key areas to consider when phone screening participants in order to achieve the highest rate of enrollment for your study:

Be Flexible and Accommodating

  • Respect Participant’s Time:
    • Call participants at their specified times to show respect for their schedule.
    • Be open to rescheduling calls if it’s inconvenient for the participant, enhancing credibility and relationship building.
    • Begin each call by confirming if it’s still a good time to talk, showing flexibility.
  • Offer Remote Options:
    • Optimize convenience by offering remote participation wherever possible.
    • Clearly communicate remote participation options to reduce participant burden and encourage engagement.

Build a relationship with the participant

  • Understand Participants’ Motivations:
    • Discuss the participant’s interest in the study, which can be found in the “Why did You Sign Up for the Trial” column of the Trialfacts Referrals Spreadsheet.
    • Highlight study details that align with that participant’s motivations to boost engagement and interest.
  • Share Impactful Stories:
    • Explain the potential impact of participation by sharing real-life stories and examples of how the study has positively affected others. This would alleviate any doubts and illustrate the tangible benefits of their participation.

Assess interest levels

  • Gauge Participant’s interest by their responsiveness:
    • Assess participants’ level of interest based on their response time. A rapid response may indicate strong interest, while delayed responses suggest potential hesitations or uncertainties.
      • In cases of slow responses, proactively follow up and promptly address any concerns they may have.
    • Minimize the window of time in which the participants can schedule their Phone Screening Appointment.
    • Promptly reach out to all participants immediately after they’ve booked a phone screening appointment to introduce yourself and confirm their appointment.
  • Take note of vocal cues of frustration or confusion, such as sighing or long pauses. Discuss their apprehensions promptly and confirm that all of their concerns are fully addressed.

Addressing concerns

  • Show Empathy:
    • Approach screening with empathy, avoiding robotic responses. Understand that discussing medical concerns may be uncomfortable for most individuals.
    • Acknowledge the participant’s hesitations and fears, ensuring that they feel supported and validated.


  • Educate with Understanding:
    • Provide personalized explanations about screening processes and eligibility criteria. Your participants don’t understand the purpose of the Phone Screening or why it takes so long.
    • Maintain transparency throughout the conversation, providing full and honest answers.


  • Provide Immediate Answers to Questions:
    • After participants complete the screening, inform them of their success and continuously ask if they have any questions until they confirm they have none.
    • Address all questions immediately during the call to maintain an open dialogue and prioritize concerns.
    • Avoid sending additional material to answer questions, as it may lead to forgetfulness, confusion, or loss of interest.
    • If you’re unable to answer a question, commit to finding the answer and follow up promptly.

Clarifying Next Steps

  • Ensure both parties understand the next steps before ending the call, and avoid leaving responsibilities solely up to the participants.
  • Schedule follow-up actions within a few days to maintain participant interest and engagement.
  • When scheduling appointments, aim for dates no more than a few days away to sustain interest and commitment.
  • Leverage technology to ensure that they don’t forget the appointment by automatically adding it to their calendar.
  • Confirmation of Appointments:
    • Send participants a personalized confirmation of their next appointment via text or email to acknowledge their time and commitment.
    • Ensure that the confirmations are coming from the same person who spoke to them on the phone.

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We’ll undergo our due diligence process and determine how many patients we can provide for your study (guaranteed).