Predictors of physician referral for patient recruitment to alzheimer disease clinical trials

James E. Galvin, Thomas M. Meuser, Linda Boise, Cathleen M. Connell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Inadequate recruitment into Alzheimer disease clinical trials is an important threat to the validity and generalizability of the studies. The majority of dementia patients are first evaluated by community-based physicians; however, physician perceptions of clinical research are largely unknown. Methods: A survey was distributed to 3123 physicians in 3 states; 370 were returned. Survey items assessed attitudes, perceived benefits of and barriers to referral to clinical research, and physicians use of the internet for medical information. Results: The mean age of the respondents was 50.6±10.8 years; 70% were male, 78% white, 61% were primary care providers; 63% used the internet ≥3 times/week. No demographic or medical specialty differences existed between those who were likely (n=193) and unlikely (n=162) to refer patients to clinical trials. Differences were discovered in perceived benefits reported by physicians who were more likely to refer, whereas differences in perceived barriers existed in primary care compared with specialists. Referral to clinical trials is predicted by close proximity to a research center [odds ratio (OR): 4.0; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.1-15.6] and availability of internet information regarding diagnostic evaluation (OR: 2.3; 95% CI, 1.1-4.7). Primary barriers included concerns about exposure of patients to uncomfortable procedures (OR: 4.7; 95% CI, 1.2-18.7) and lack of time to discuss research participation (OR: 6.8; 95% CI, 1.4-32.3). Conclusions: Proximity to a research center and availability of diagnostic clinical tools are strong predictors of clinical trial referral. Concern over risks to patients and lack of time are strong barriers. These Results suggest that dementia outreach education targeted to physicians should emphasize the importance of clinical trials with a focus on discussing research participation in a time-efficient manner and increasing awareness of risk reduction and the safety of research protocols. Providing easy access to up-to-date, user-friendly educational materials on dementia diagnosis and research via the internet are likely to improve referrals of patients to Alzheimer disease clinical trials from community physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-356
Number of pages5
JournalAlzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Alzheimer disease
  • Clinical trials
  • Dementia
  • Physician
  • Recruitment
  • Referral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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