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Parents' perceived obstacles to pediatric clinical trial participation: Findings from the clinical trials transformation initiative.


Enrollment of children into pediatric clinical trials remains challenging. More effective strategies to improve recruitment of children into trials are needed. This study used in-depth qualitative interviews with parents who were approached to enroll their children in a clinical trial in order to gain an understanding of the barriers to pediatric clinical trial participation. Twenty-four parents whose children had been offered the opportunity to participate in a clinical trial were interviewed: 19 whose children had participated in at least 1 clinical trial and 5 who had declined participation in any trial. Each study aspect, from the initial explanation of the study to the end of the study, can affect the willingness of parents to consent to the proposed study and future studies. Establishing trust, appropriate timing, a transparent discussion of risks and benefits oriented to the layperson, and providing motivation for children to participate were key factors that impacted parents' decisions. In order for clinical trial accrual to be successful, parents' priorities and considerations must be a central focus, beginning with initial trial design. The recommendations from the parents who participated in this study can be used to support budget allocations that ensure adequate training of study staff and improved staffing on nights and weekends. Studies of parent responses in outpatient settings and additional inpatient settings will provide valuable information on the consent process from the child's and parent's perspectives. Further studies are needed to explore whether implementation of such strategies will result in improved recruitment for pediatric clinical trials.

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