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MyChart for Recruitment

Low or slow participant recruitment is a leading reason that clinical trials fail and lack of awareness seems to be a big part of the problem. Researchers can now offer clinical trial opportunities directly to patients who may be eligible using MyChart. Patients now have a “research studies” page in their MyChart accounts where they can:

  • Learn about research opportunities.
  • Indicate whether they want to be contacted about studies.
  • Indicate areas of research they are interested in.
  • Receive messages about studies for which they may be eligible.
  • See eRecord studies they are enrolled in.

Using MyChart to offer clinical trial opportunities empowers patients to make their own decisions and takes the burden of communication off healthcare providers.

Interested in using MyChart to recruit study participants? Submit a request to get started.

Submit Request

Learn More From Our FAQ


Which studies can use MyChart for Recruitment?

Most studies will be able to use MyChart for recruitment, though studies of a sensitive nature (interpersonal violence, etc.) and studies enrolling people age 12 to 17 will not be able to use MyChart for recruitment. Studies enrolling children age 0-11 or adults 18 and older can use this tool.  The principal investigator must have a faculty appointment or co-appointment in a department of the University of Rochester Medical Center.  Faculty appointment only to departments outside the Medical Center (Eastman, River Campus) cannot use this tool. Only studies that are in eRecord can use MyChart for recruitment. Studies will need to be entered in OnCore in order to be transferred to eRecord. Each study will require a UR CTSI Recruitment and Retention consultation to determine if MyChart is an appropriate recruitment channel. This consultation will also include assistance with feasibility using TriNetX to see if there is an appropriate patient population in eRecord. Importantly, this method will not replace more traditional means of recruitment.  Study teams should still develop a recruitment plan with multiple channels of recruitment.

What is the process for getting IRB approval to use MyChart for recruitment?

Once a consultation is complete, the study team will submit their application to the RSRB for approval, indicating in the protocol that they will use MyChart for recruitment. In addition to the protocol, a MyChart request form with the contact message will also need to be completed, signed by the UR CTSI Director of Research Services, submitted and approved. All contact messages will need to include the following language: This study opportunity may not have been reviewed by your clinical care team. If you no longer wish to receive email notifications about research studies through your MyChart Research Studies page, please click on the Do Not Contact button above. You may still receive regular MyChart messages from your clinical care team about research studies.

How are patients identified to send messages to?

While IRB approval takes place, you will submit a REDCap to CTSI Informatics for a clinical data query.  This will identify a list of patients that are eligible for the study.  This list will be sent to the eRecord team and imported into Reporting Workbench.  Study teams will use this list to send MyChart messages.  Identifying potentially eligible subjects directly in Reporting Workbench is not allowed for this recruitment method, you must use the list of patients identified by the clinical data query process. 

What happens once approval is granted?

Once IRB approval is obtained, the research team contacts and includes the IRB approved MyChart message in the email. The Research Help Desk will work with CTSI Informatics and the eRecord MyChart team to have the study set up in eRecord and have the MyChart functionality for the study activated. Study coordinators will select which patients in Reporting Workbench will receive the approved contact message. Messages must be sent to patients one-by-one. There is no ability to send messages en masse.

What happens when a message is sent by the study team?

Potentially eligible patients would receive an email message or sms text message from MyChart saying they have a message. When the patient opens MyChart there will be a research section in their chart with information about the study. This section will provide information about why they were contacted and information about the specific study for which they may be eligible. The patient would then select “yes” if they are interested or “no” if they are not. If they select yes, the researcher will get a message in their eRecord in basket that the patient is interested. The researcher could then follow up with that patient. In addition to indicating ‘not interested’ in the study, patients also have the option to opt-out of getting future communications from MyChart about future research study opportunities. 

How many times can I contact a patient?

In Reporting Workbench, research team members can see who has responded to a message and who has not.  For patients who are not interested in the study, no further contact is needed.  For patients who are interested, the team should contact them and follow their protocol for screening and enrollment.  If a patient does not respond to the first contact, teams can contact a patient a second time, but no more after that. 

Can a patient be contacted about multiple studies?

Yes.  Patients can be contacted about multiple studies.  However, in Reporting Workbench the study team should look to see if the patient is on another study.  If they are, they should contact the other study’s coordinator to determine whether the patient is eligible to be on multiple studies at once.  If there is a conflict as determined by the study investigators, the patient should not be contacted.  If there is no conflict, the MyChart message can be sent.  Do not contact patients that have indicated to you that they do not want to be contacted for future research on a past study-specific consent form.

What if I do not have access to eRecord?

During the UR CTSI recruitment consultation, we will determine if you have EPIC access. If not, the UR CTSI will help you get the access and training you need. If a patient indicates they are interested in your study, their contact information will be sent to you so you can screen the patient for enrollment. 

How soon should I follow up with a patient that is interested in my study?

We recommend that you follow up with patients within 2-3 business days after receiving a response in your in basket.  Only send study invitations to the number of patients you can respond to within 2-3 days.  Prolonged lack of a response after a patient expresses interest decreases the enrollment rate.

What do I do when my study is done recruiting?

Study opportunities stay on a patients Research Page until the patient responds to the opportunity or until they are retracted.  You can retract messages at any time, but you must retract all messages when recruitment for the study is completed.

flow diagram: box labeled, “Contact the CTSI” points to two boxes: one labeled, “Get IRB approval”, the other labeled, “Get list of MRNs”. Both of those boxes point to a single box labeled, “Send documents to CTSI”, which points to a box labeled, “MyChart team activates MyChart” then to, “Coordinator send MyChart messages” then, “Patient responds to message” then, “Coordinator enrolls patient” and finally, “Coordinator retract messages.”