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MyChart for Recruitment

Low or slow participant recruitment is a leading reason that clinical trials fail and a lack of awareness seems to be a big part of the problem. Researchers can use MyChart to offer clinical trial opportunities directly to patients who may be eligible. 


Researchers with a faculty appointment or co-appointment in a University of Rochester Medical Center department can share information about their clinical trials with patients who meet certain study criteria through MyChart. Eligible clinical trials must be:

  • Enrolling infants and children up to age 11 or adults over the age of 18; studies enrolling people aged 12 to 17 are not eligible to use MyChart for recruitment
  • Not of a sensitive nature (interpersonal violence, etc.)
  • In eRecord (if a study is not in eRecord, it will need to be entered into OnCore in order to be transferred to eRecord)

Relevant studies will appear on a patient's “research studies” page in MyChart 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 takes the burden of communication off of healthcare providers and empowers patients to make their own decisions regarding participating in trials.

Get Started

To use MyChart to recruit participants for a clinical trial, you must:

  • Submit a request and our team will set up a consultation.
  • Once a consultation is complete, you must submit an application to the Research Subjects Review Board for approval, indicating in the protocol that you will use MyChart for recruitment. In addition to the protocol, a MyChart request form (with a patient-facing description of your study) will also need to be completed, signed by the UR CTSI Director of Research Services, submitted to the IRB, and approved. All studies will appear in MyChart with the following language: 

    This study opportunity may not have been reviewed by your clinical care team.

    Click “I’m Interested” if you would like the study team to follow up with you about participating. Click “No, Thank You” if you would not like to be contacted about this study.

    If you no longer wish to see Available Studies (new study opportunities) on your Research Studies page, click on the Participation Preferences dropdown above, then select Do Not Contact. Please be aware that someone from your clinical care team may still decide to contact you about participating in research.

  • After you receive IRB approval, please contact and include the IRB-approved request form and updated protocol in the email. 

  • Once your study has IRB approval, you can request a clinical data query to identify a list of patients who are eligible for the study. This list will be sent to the eRecord team and imported into Reporting Workbench. Study teams will send MyChart messages to patients on the list.

  • Also after IRB-approval, you will need to set up a study record in the clinical trial management system, OnCore. Once you have set it up, you will need to ask the Office of Clinical Research to review your study record and push it over to eRecord so it can be found in that system.
  • The Research Help Desk will work with UR CTSI Informatics and the eRecord MyChart team to have the study set up in eRecord and to activate MyChart functionality for the study. 
  • In Reporting Workbench, research team members can see who has responded to a message and who has not. For patients who are interested, the team should follow up within two to three business days and follow their protocol for screening and enrollment. For patients who are not interested in the study, no further contact is needed. If a patient does not respond to the first contact, teams can contact the patient a second time, but no more after that.

  • Patients who enroll in your study by way of MyChart need to be added to your study’s OnCore record and designated as an enrolled subject. That is the only way we can track the success of this tool.
  • Once you are done recruiting for a study, please retract all study invitations in the MyChart system. 

Note: 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. Messages must be sent to patients one-by-one. There is no ability to send messages in bulk.  Do not contact patients who have indicated to you that they do not want to be contacted for future research on a past study-specific consent form.


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 aged 12 to 17 will not be able to use MyChart for recruitment. Studies enrolling children ages 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 appointments 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 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 the 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. 

What if I do not have access to eRecord?

During the UR CTSI recruitment consultation, we will determine if you have appropriate access to EPIC to perform the MyChart for Recruitment workflow. If not, the UR CTSI will help you get the access and training you need.

How soon should I follow up with a patient who 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. A prolonged lack of a response after a patient expresses interest decreases the likelihood of connecting with and enrolling the patient.