July 6, 2022
How Teckro Improves Patient Centricity - Grayson Scott
Site Supervisor at Centricity ResearchGuest
This week on the Totally Clinical podcast we welcome Grayson Scott, clinical research coordinator and site supervisor at Centricity Research. This is a very special episode because we hear first hand from Grayson about how Teckro supports his day job. Grayson explains how Teckro helps him put the patient first with access to essential study content in the palm of his hand and elaborates on why more sponsor-to-site lines of communication are urgently needed…
"I'm really excited about the communication possibilities with Teckro. I don't think currently that there are enough lines of communication open with sites to sponsors."
Hello, and welcome to the totally clinical podcast. Brought to you by Techro.
Totally clinical is a deep dive into the freshest trends, big time challenges, our most excellent triumphs of clinical trials. I Hannah, your host. Join me as I chat with industry experts, trailblazers, thought leaders, and most importantly, the people benefiting from clinical search. So tune in, settle back, and don't touch that dial. It's time to get totally clinical.
This week, Grace and Scott, clinical research coordinator, and site supervisor at Centricity Research joins me on the podcast.
Now this is a special one because it's the first user we've had to join us and explain more about how Tetra helps with his day job. Welcome to the podcast, Grayson. Could you start by telling the listeners more about your role at Centricity Research? Absolutely.
I began at Centricity Research in two thousand and nineteen as an oncology clinical research coordinator. So kind of a boots on the ground position, seeing patients every day. I was in the oncology center for about three years, and I have since twenty twenty one become the site supervisor of our multi specialty. Clinic.
So I've moved into kind of a different role now, but we are a multi site multi specialty organization that spans from the US to Canada. Currently, I'm still assisting seeing patients in the oncology center. So I'm still very much actively, a CRC. And on the other side, my abilities now as a supervisor, I oversee, a clinic that has eight clinical research coordinators that are overseeing studies of all all different kinds.
So multi specialty there. And then we also have a kind of unique role with that clinic called Research Assistance some companies may refer to them as clinical trial assistance. I've heard something like that. Those personnel really help see the ongoing visit so that coordinators can focus on enrollments and randomizations, but I helped to supervise all of that currently.
Let's talk about your experiences with Techro. Can you start by telling us your overall perspective on Techro? Yeah. So Techro has been great.
It is essentially provided instant access to any of the essential study documents right there in the palm of your hand literally instant access to protocol, inclusion exclusion, excluded con meds, like, all all the kind of really vital things that a coordinator needs day to day, and it also opens new lines of communication, in my opinion, for questions that a site might have, that they don't realize other sites probably have, or the sponsor may not realize that that other sites have. So I think it's it's a great way to connect sites that would never be able to communicate. I think it's a great way to kind of branch all of those sites together through the sponsor.
One thing sites tell us is that Techro fits well into their day job, meaning there isn't a lot of extra work for you, unlike smaller systems. Particularly in the role of CRC, I think you can find yourself with extra work with some of the tech that sponsors want you to deploy. I would agree. I would say that it's a trickle down effect.
Right? So with the sponsor, they, from my understanding, tend to be probably the most technology heavy in terms of research because they're doing things like pulling very large metrics, but your standard you know, standalone independently owned research site may not be that savvy as far as technology goes. So the trickle down effect would be that by the time it gets to the CRC, some of the things that we run into, for example, going back to remote monitoring visits, that is something that on the whole sounds like it would be simpler, but actually is is more difficult for for a coordinator. A
clinical research coordinator has to take these documents that may be kept on paper at the site. A lot of sites are still using paper source have to take these documents that are kept on paper at the site and redact all of the patient health information, the PHI off of those documents before sending them. So that that ends up being a lot of manual page by page searching for PHI.
In documents, and, of course, there's electronic systems that that can help you, but it's still a very manual process and actually adds a lot of time. To a monitoring visit for a clinical coordinator. So that's just one example that the trickle down effect that we see kind of puts a little bit more burden on the coordinator than than some people may be aware. We've heard that at times technology can actually be a hindrance.
Do you have any examples you can share? One instance, probably, like, three months ago, I was actually seeing a patient at a randomization visit, so week one day one visit, and there was an electronic diary system. That we had to use, sponsor mandated that it had to be electronic, could not be paper. If it could not be performed on the electronic diary, then it was missed And it was actually one of the exploratory endpoints was the diary results.
So very important data. We got in the patient room completed all the all the elements. We're ready to dose, and the only thing we're missing is the diary. So we we fire up the tablet you know, open the diary app, and it doesn't work, doesn't populate.
We try for, like, a half an hour. We can't get it to work. On the phone with tech support for an hour. Still can't get it to work.
And long story short, the sponsor, we contacted them, asked them if we could do it on paper just to collect the data, have the patient filling in later. And they said, absolutely not. So that was actually missed. In that instance, we could have collected the data points, but because of this mandate of the use of this e diary system, we were not able to.
Wow. That is not a great patient experience.
I imagine there's still some legacy in clinical research that makes going digital easier said than done. It's interesting because I think that by and large, once you get these systems integrated, it it's kind of easy, but to get the ball rolling is very difficult. It can be very expensive for sites. A lot of sites may not even be able to afford the electronic regulatory platforms or e source platforms or CTMS systems.
If you're a very small site that's just running one or two studies, that may not be an option. So as far as solutions for the current time, I think a sponsor on the sponsor side, maybe the willingness to work with these independent community based sites and kind of meet them where they are. Would be a helpful solution.
You know, obviously, in the future, I personally see source going completely to electronic I see regulatory going to completely electronic within probably the next five to ten years at the least. So I I do think that eventually we'll all get on board, but I think we've We've done this thing in clinical research where we used to have no technology and everything was on paper and we would fax queries back and forth to each other. Some of the older CRCs also will remember that. But now we do we we've kind of turned to one eighty, and now everything has to be, you know, on the cutting edge of tech.
So we're very much kind of stuck in the middle. A lot of these smaller sites are. We've kind of got ahead of the curve at Centricity Research, which is which is really helpful to us now, but it was quite a difficult process for for a couple of years there. Getting back to Techro, unlike other digital approaches, having it on your mobile makes things a whole lot easier.
Yeah. I would say the ease of access to the inclusion exclusion and especially the, excluded con meds in the protocol. It it's really convenient for a coordinator, especially when you're in the room with a patient. Say that you do keep these documents electronically, well, then you have to have a computer with you at all times if you're going to pull up these documents.
So if you're a site like hours at centricity right now, we're kind of in a hybrid mode. So we do electronic regulatory, but we do paper source currently. We are eventually moving to electronic source. But right now, you would have to if you needed a informed consent form, for example, you have to print it off.
If you needed the excluded comments because they're kept in the protocol, which is electronic, you have to have a laptop to log on get in our e reg portal and open it up and find it within the protocol. It's really convenient just to be able to pull your phone out, log in to Techra, pull up your protocol, and then search prohibited con meds, and you can pull them right there in the patient room and go through the con meds with the patient. So it's just very easy. One thing that's unique about your perspective is that you have used Techro long enough to have seen the platform evolve.
What have you seen from Tecro that can really change the game for sites? I'm really excited about the communication possibilities.
I I don't think currently that there are enough lines of communication open with sites to sponsors. As a coordinator, I can speak to it that if I did work with a a study that had a CRO, which I would say most of our studies had CROs, It was extremely rare that I would ever actually contact anyone at the sponsor. Obviously, the CRO is being contracted to do that job for the sponsor, but it is still, in my opinion, really imperative that sponsors get side feedback. And that's not something that I actually see happen practically day to day in research.
And I think that Tepro opens up avenues of communication for sites to be able to communicate directly with the sponsor, which is great. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective, Grayson. We love to hear from happy users. Is there anything else about Techro that comes to mind?
That is another thing, you know, that's available with with Techrope is the ability to consolidate logins and URLs and all of that and and keeping it place. I would say as a coordinator in oncology specifically, the average study, these days probably has seven to ten different electronic portals per study that the sponsors are using. So whether it's an EDC, and an IRT, and a lab, portal and an imaging portal and a pathology upload portal and all these different things that are using. It's it's probably between seven and ten portals per study.
And if you're at a site that it has got two or three different coordinators, you're probably seeing forty to fifty you open to enrollment studies at one time. So it ends up very, very quickly being quite a lot of URLs and passwords and usernames to keep up with So that's really exciting to see Techro consolidating that too. And finally, considering the challenges sites are facing with technology overload, What advice do you have the sponsors and CROs? I think it's very important that sponsors do reach out that sponsors do survey that sponsors do actually care to hear about sites experiences on the trial.
It's like I said before, it's very rare. If I worked with a CRO or sometimes just directly with a sponsor, either way, it's very rare that as a coordinator, I would get asked my opinion of the programs that we're using, is this EDC system easy to use? Is this system very difficult or Did the imaging upload portal actually work, or was it or you want tech support, you know, calls for three hours every time you wanted to use it? So one thing I would add is just on the sponsor side, on the CRO side, sites are not a commodity.
Sites are a partnership. So, absolutely, use their expertise and their knowledge to make all of our lives easier.
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