A Cost and Time Analysis of Participant Recruitment and Urine Sample Collection Through Social Media Optimization

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Urology



Clinical research study can be expensive and time consuming due to high cost and/or long duration of a study. We hypothesized that research studies using online recruitment and engaging patients via social medial channels have the potential to reach a large population in a small timeframe, at a reasonable cost. This is an especially appropriate adaptation during COVID-19, with limited hospital and clinic access. To our knowledge, no prior study has performed a detailed cost analysis of the use of online recruitment of clinical sample collection. We sought to address this knowledge gap by comparing cost and efficiency of the recruitment of urine samples online compared to recruitment of urine samples at clinical research sites.


We performed a retrospective cost analysis of a cohort study comparing cost per sample and time per sample for both online and clinically recruited participants. The retrospective review was conducted from August 2020 to September 2021. During this time, cost data was collected based on patient surveys, urine sample analyses, invoices, and budget spreadsheets. The data was subsequently subjected to statistical analysis. This study was performed with full institutional IRB approval.


Each sample collection kit contained 3 urine cups, 1 for the IC sample and 2 for control samples. Out of the 3576 (1192 IC + 2384 control) total sample cups mailed, 1,211 (677 control) samples were returned, with a return rate of 44.8% for IC samples and 28.4% for controls. Comparatively, the two clinical sites collected 305 samples in the same period. Men and women of all age groups (18+) and ethnicities enrolled in the study, representing all 50 states. Although the initial startup cost of online recruitment was higher, cost per sample for online recruited was found to be $147.06 compared to $398.14 for clinic sample.


We conducted a nationwide, contactless, urine sample drive through online participant recruitment, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Results were compared with the samples collected in traditional clinical setting. Online patient recruitment can be utilized to collect urine sample rapidly, efficiently and at a cost per sample that was 37% of in an in-person clinic and without risk of COVID-19 exposure.




Suppl 5

First Page



American Urological Association Annual Meeting, May 13-16, 2022, New Orleans, LA.