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Estimating Site Performance (ESP): trial managers’ predictions about trial site recruitment

A Trial Forge recruitment project called Estimating Site Performance (ESP) has just been published in the journal Trials. The study asked trial managers at the Centre for Healthcare Randomised Trials (CHaRT), University of Aberdeen, to predict whether a site would recruit to target.  No guidance was given as what trial managers should consider when making this judgement.    

Ten trial managers made predictions for 56 site visits recruiting to eight trials. Trial managers correctly identified 65% of sites that would hit their recruitment target and 54% of those that did not. Eight ‘red flags’ for recruitment failure were identified: previous poor site performance; slow approvals process; strong staff/patient preferences; the site recruitment target; the trial protocol and its implementation at the site; lack of staff engagement; lack of research experience among site staff; and busy site staff. These red flags to develop a guided prediction form. 

The new guided prediction form will be used in a new, much larger follow-on project: ESP2. We’ll need 1000 recruitment predictions in ESP2 so if youiare interested in helping, get in touch at

The full article is at  



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