Clinical trials are essential to modern medicine, but several barriers, including poor communication, hamper their successful completion. We examined the prevalence and correlates of invitation to participate in clinical trials among a nationally-representative sample of US adults using survey responses from the 2020 HINTS (Cycle 5). Analyses were conducted in 2021.

Overall, 9% of respondents reported being invited to a clinical trial, a prevalence that is nearly half of previously reported rates in convenience samples recruited from health care settings. Compared to non-Hispanic Whites, Black respondents reported the higher prevalence of invitation (16.0%) whereas Asian respondents reported the lowest (2%). Prevalence of clinical trial invitation was significantly higher for the 65–74 age and the 75 + age groups. Prevalence of invitation was significantly higher among college graduates (12.0%) and lower for those residing in rural areas/small towns compared to metropolitan areas. Invitation was significantly higher among cancer patients/survivors (16.0%), patients with diabetes (11.7%) and with chronic lung disease (16.7%). Provider and patient factors there were associated with higher invitation rates included using web devices to communicate with providers or to aid health-related discussions, having a specific medical provider, and looking for health information online.

This study establishes a population-based prevalence of clinical trial communication that can be monitored as health care providers/organizations increase their focus on enrollment activities. Targeted interventions to improve communication about clinical trials are needed to address socio-demographic disparities and are particularly important for Asian patients, patients with lower income, and those living in rural areas.

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Published in Preventive Medicine Reports, v. 26, 101742.

© 2022 The Authors

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license

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Funding Information

This research was supported by the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center (P30CA177558).