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The Impact of Feasibility on Clinical Trial Outcomes

The Impact of Feasibility on Clinical Trial Outcomes

Clinical trials are the cornerstone of medical advancements, providing the crucial link between laboratory research and real-world application. These trials test the safety and efficacy of new drugs, treatments, and procedures, paving the way for better patient care. In this context, ‘feasibility’ refers to the practicality and likelihood of successfully carrying out a clinical trial. It’s an essential consideration in any clinical trial as it directly influences outcomes and the overall success of a trial.

Impact of Feasibility on Patient Recruitment

Patient recruitment is a critical phase in any clinical trial. It involves identifying and enrolling suitable participants for the study. The feasibility of a clinical trial plays a significant role in patient recruitment. If a trial is not feasible — for instance, if it requires too much time or resources from participants — recruitment can be challenging.

Consider a hypothetical clinical trial to test a new diabetes drug. If the trial design requires patients to visit the clinic every day for treatment and monitoring, it may not be feasible for many potential participants, leading to low recruitment rates.

On the other hand, a case study from the University of California, San Francisco, found that when they made their HIV/AIDS clinical trial more feasible — by reducing the number of clinic visits and using mobile apps for remote monitoring — patient recruitment improved significantly.

Impact of Feasibility on Data Collection

Data collection is another critical aspect of clinical trials. It involves gathering information from participants about their health status, side effects, and response to treatment. Again, feasibility plays a considerable role here.

An unrealistic data collection plan can negatively impact both participation rates and data quality. If participants are asked to provide data too frequently or through complex procedures, they may drop out or provide incomplete or inaccurate data.

In a case study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers found that when they simplified the data collection process in their cancer drug trial, patient compliance improved, leading to higher-quality data and more reliable results.

Impact of Feasibility on Overall Trial Success

A successful clinical trial is one that generates reliable data about the safety and efficacy of the treatment being tested, within a reasonable time frame and budget. Here too, feasibility significantly influences success.

If a trial’s design is not feasible, it may fail to recruit enough participants, collect reliable data, or meet its objectives within the planned timeline and budget. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that many clinical trials fail due to unrealistic timelines and budgets, reinforcing the importance of feasibility.

The Role of Feasibility Studies in Clinical Trials

Given the critical impact of feasibility on clinical trial outcomes, conducting feasibility studies before launching a trial is crucial. These studies assess factors like potential participant availability, resource requirements, and practicality of the trial design.

For instance, a feasibility study for a proposed Alzheimer’s disease trial might include an assessment of the number of eligible patients in the target area, the resources needed for frequent cognitive testing, and the likelihood of patients’ willingness to undergo regular brain scans.

By identifying potential feasibility issues early on, these studies can help to adjust trial design and strategy to improve outcomes. A study published in Clinical Trials Journal found that trials that conducted thorough feasibility studies had higher recruitment rates, better data quality, and were more likely to achieve their objectives.


Feasibility is a key determinant of success in clinical trials. From patient recruitment to data collection and overall trial success, feasibility influences every aspect of a clinical trial. It’s crucial for researchers to conduct thorough feasibility studies before launching a trial to identify and address potential issues early on.

The impact of feasibility on clinical trial outcomes is a wide-ranging topic with many nuances. It’s encouraged that interested readers further research and understand the intricacies of this topic, as this knowledge can contribute to more effective planning and execution of clinical trials, leading to better health outcomes for us all.

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