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Transforming Clinical Trials

By Study NeedBy Study Role

May 19, 2022

ACRP Focus Group: Simplicity, Support and a Say

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      Rory McConnell

      Rory McConnell

      Product Manager


    Most of us are aware of the danger in making assumptions. When delivering a product, best practice (and good sense) dictate no assumptions be made on how that product will be helpful to your intended consumer. Assuming you understand the pain points in a specific user community or that you know how to solve their unique issues is inherently problematic. But there is a simple way to acquire that invaluable insight – invite them to tell you. We at Teckro were lucky enough to do just that recently, with a unique, topical focus group session at ACRP 2022.

    Photo of Silvina Baudino, Rory McConnell and Liz Corcoran at ACRP 2022 for a Teckro focus group

    Here's a snap of the Teckro team who facilitated the ACRP focus group, from left to right: Silvina Baudino, Liz Corcoran and Rory McConnell

    A Simple Circle

    Picture the scene: a chattering buzz fills the event space in Orlando for the returning, highly anticipated in-person ACRP conference. Among the crowd are 10 open, honest and thoughtful participants we are lucky to have joining us that morning.

    A simple circle of chairs awaits. There's no elaborate presentation. We don't even have desks or notebooks. What we do have is a room full of knowledgeable people, eager to share opinions, challenges and stories.

    Our aim is to modernize clinical trials, making life simpler for sites and other study stakeholders and in turn, supporting them to achieve successful outcomes for patients. This focus group is an opportunity for our participants to share and be heard, with us listening and learning from their valuable feedback.

    So, What Did We Learn?

    The group included people from CRA, CRC and sponsor backgrounds, all of whom came together to candidly share their first-hand experiences of working on the frontline of clinical trials. These were our findings:

    • Sites find it difficult to be heard in clinical trial operations. The focus group itself was seen as a highly welcome opportunity for sites to have an input in industry changes and provide their feedback and suggestions
    • Sites can become burdened by technology without appropriate training, documentation, and troubleshooting availability from technology providers. Significant improvement in tech support and overall homogenization is needed to reduce the impact of fragmented clinical technology systems
    • CRCs feel their input and contribution is vastly underutilized in the process of designing protocols and amendments. They recognize ways they could help avoid future amendments, if given the opportunity to communicate early
    • Site staff want and need fast responses from CRAs and study teams to help them make informed decisions at the point of care
    • Technology must be simple and intuitive for all kinds of end users for it to be of benefit

    Ten years ago, there weren't a whole lot of tech platforms. And then vendors started popping up. Sites are feeling the burden. I have to make cheat sheets now for every study for sites so that they know which platform to use.

    Chad Eriksen

    CEO & Founder at Iron Horse Research

    Valuing User Perspective

    We are driven to provide solutions that clinical research teams want and need, recognizing that ongoing communication with existing and potential users is critical as we advance our offering. As well as learning more about core site challenges during the focus group, we had a chance to run ideas past key site staff on Teckro’s future vision and product roadmap, gathering invaluable insights for us to consider as we move forward.

    So, there you have it. To establish what qualifies as an effective solution, the most important thing we can do is consistently invite user input and provide the ongoing tech support they need to optimize their experience. Sites are ready and willing to tell us how we can make their lives simpler, negating the need for assumptions and enabling user-validated product enhancement decisions.

    Rory McConnell

    Rory McConnell

    Product Manager


    Rory McConnell has a product management background in Communications at Messaging at Skype and Microsoft, and Program Management experience in Customer Experience at Dropbox. As a BCOMM graduate from University College Dublin and a fan of all things sports and outdoors, Rory is driven to succeed in everything undertaken in life and work.