How do you provide the right information at the right time to the right person?
Sites receive numerous emails from vendors, 100+ slides for training, queries from sponsors. Contacts pushing faster recruiting. Blah blah blah. When a site is conducting two or three studies, this intensity of communication is tolerable. When a site is conducting fifty studies, this much communication leads to site disengagement.
How do you get the right balance? How do you provide the information needed but no more? Based on input from sites, here are a few suggestions:
- Single point of contact. Some sponsors try to have an in-house CRA and an on-site CRA. While this type of matrix communication can work, it rarely does. It is difficult to manage. Have one person in charge of communicating with sites, and ensure they do it well.
- More is more, not better. Remember what Pascal said more than 350 years ago, “I am sorry I have had to write you such a long letter, but I did not have time to write you a short one.” Don’t give into the pressure to provide more information ‘just in case’. In my experience, the bigger challenge is determining what is not important and eliminating it from communication as opposed to determining what is important and ensuring it is included.
- Information in digestible nuggets. When a back-up study coordinator wants to confirm what data is to be obtained during visit three, they don’t need to wade through information on the rationale of the study or the eligibility criteria. They want only the information needed at that time.
- Standardized filing/accessing. We worked on a study where the sponsor stored all of the study information on their portal. Unfortunately, there was no system for storing files, or at least none that was discernable to sites. Sites had no idea where to find information. They looked in various files and then had to open numerous documents to locate the needed information. To further complicate it, documents were encrypted and required three steps to open them. Result—sites simply quit looking for information and spent their time on more productive studies.
For help “cutting through the noise” in your trials, contact me.
Ross H. Weaver, PharmD, MBA