December 21, 2021
How Teckro Unlocks Site Engagement for More Efficient Clinical Trials - Andrea Parish
subs: How Teckro Unlocks Site Engagement for More Efficient Clinical Trials - Andrea Parish
Quality Assurance LeaderGuest
We talked with Andrea Parish about her latest blog How Teckro Unlocks Site Engagement for More Efficient Clinical Trials. In this podcast, she explains why real-time communication is a game-changer for clinical trials and some tips for how sponsors can keep their sites happy.
“With site engagement it’s all about targeted communication to specific roles within a clinical trial. What we know is that’s what makes site engagement successful.”
HANNAH: Hello, and welcome to the Totally Clinical Podcast brought to you by Teckro.
Totally Clinical is a deep dive into the freshest trends, big-time challenges, and most excellent triumphs of clinical trials.
I'm Hannah, your host. Join me as I chat with industry experts, trailblazers, thought leaders, and, most importantly, the people benefiting from clinical research.
So tune in, settle back, and don't touch that dial. It's time to get Totally Clinical.
This week, Andrea Parish joins me on the podcast.
Andrea is executive director, risk management and project quality here at Teckro, and has 20 years of experience in the clinical research industry. I spoke to her about her latest blog about site engagement, especially relevant as the old way of running trials isn't going to address the bottleneck in getting them operating again. Andrea, could you tell me a bit more about how site engagement works and why it's important?
ANDREA PARISH: Oh, yes, absolutely. And for those of you who've worked in clinical research, you know how important site engagement really is. It's the heart of everything that counts when it comes to clinical trials. And it's important because it requires that there's meaningful and regular conversations that need to occur between teams and being able to build up those relationships and create that high morale because we all know that that's crucial for clinical trials success.
The engagement of site staff is especially important when you're running multi-site clinical trials and where performance of operations across sites can vary. And we all know that that's true. They function very differently sometimes. And so, if they aren't running efficiently and effectively, this has a direct impact to patient retention compliance and even trial endpoint.
So why it's important is because, if you can marry up great communication, good positive relationships, you give them the tools that make them successful, then what you will have is a positive knock-on effect in every stage of the clinical trial process. And it can't be emphasized enough.
Another area is strong site engagement keeps sites invested in trial success as they build better relationships and collaboration to improve performance. Let's face it, if sites are happy, their morale will be high. They will be engaged with your study. So that is why it's important to leverage anything and everything that can enable their job to be easier as it relates to your study.
Also, it's important to note that sites and teams working on any clinical trial need the tools and technology to make the staff's job easier to carry out. And that's the name of the game as well is just that we need to continue to investigate what those products look like to make their job easier and improve the clinical trial process as a whole.
HANNAH: You also talk about what site engagement is not in the blog. Why do you think this is important to highlight?
ANDREA PARISH: That's a great question and I think it's very important to highlight because, as you know with site engagement, it's all about communication, targeted communication that's specific to even specific roles within a clinical trial, so for a site principal investigator, a CRA, or even a sponsor, for example.
What we know is just that that's what makes a site successful with site engagement. What it's not though is about to-ing and fro-ing via time-consuming emails or the game of telephone, as our CEO likes to say, when asking or seeking information about the trial.
So what that means is that you don't want to continue down the path of using old methods to try to target and communicate with sites. And I think that that's what site engagement is not.
HANNAH: You touched on how email and telephone are outdated despite the fact that many of us use them every day. The clinical trials being able to communicate in real time completely changes the game.
ANDREA PARISH: Exactly. And another thing, too, is just like, for example, what it's not is--
another thing I want to address is that it's not about sending out these mass newsletters to sites or site personnel or even CROs.
Think about when you get an email, spam email.
The more spam you get, the less likely an individual is going to be to open that message.
The way we feel here is that information needs to be targeted to the need of the individual seeking information. So that's one of the great things that I like about the Teckro program here because you're getting that customized solution versus just blast of emails that are used currently that we want to move away from in the future.
HANNAH: Yeah, definitely agree. Most of my newsletters go straight to spam.
ANDREA PARISH: 100%.
HANNAH: It's very nice when you get somebody who actually knows what you're about. So customization is the way forward.
ANDREA PARISH: Absolutely.
ANDREA PARISH: Right.
HANNAH: So you also touched on--
you talk about proactive action. I really love this because I feel that, just generally in work and in life, we are often just in default reactive mode. Can you explain a bit more about how Teckro allows staff to be proactive?
ANDREA PARISH: Oh, yes, 100%. I think as you know or anybody who works in the clinical trial industry realizes is that study teams do not actually have an overview of what is happening across sites in real time. And so what's so great about using Teckro in that instances is that we have built-in analytics that provides insights so study teams can gauge engagement with their study and also assess those potential risks. So, for example, what we've seen is that high rate of interaction occurs with Teckro search at the enrollment phase.
And it's a good measure of whether a given site is on track to meet recruitment targets.
So I'll give kind of a relevant example, not even necessarily the recruitment targets but an example of how that works. So, say for example, you're managing a very high-risk inclusion criteria that you want to manage very quickly. I will use ILD in a cancer research trial. You could see that sites are searching for that and searching for that.
And maybe perhaps that is giving you an indication that they don't understand the management of that process for an example--
for example, I should say. So what you're getting in this instance is real-time access to a potential risk that exists for your study. So, again, that's one of the great features that we offer here with our Teckro product.
Also, another example of that might be Teckro can provide insights into communication effectiveness. I think all of us, we know that we get emails, but you have no idea if people are even actually opening those emails and reading those emails, particularly if there's very significant information that needs to be communicated to a site that may be having an issue. In the use of our products, you can actually see who's reading the emails so then, again, you're able to proactively assess whether that site is actually engaged with your trial or not to manage that particular issue.
So that was just another example of built-in visibility through our platform. And I think that that insight is crucial and necessary to measure the effectiveness and also further understand site engagement on the whole.
HANNAH: So I also wanted to talk a bit about Teckro Connect, Teckro's most recent feature. Connect allows staff to communicate with experts in real time. Could you explain a bit more about Connect and site engagement?
ANDREA PARISH: So during clinical trials, we know that there are urgent questions that are going to come up during the trial. And study teams need answers without delay. And so the problem that we've seen and we were able to reach out to site staff to ask them what some of the problems are which helps in our product development is that email and/or telephone calls take time. You're missing one another.
You're doing to-ing and fro-ing again.
So what Teckro Connect does is it creates a virtual and dedicated group with site staff and study experts, so that the research personnel can immediately start conversations and get to the answers they need quickly. And this feature, in particular, you can spend up--
can speed up, pardon me, time to resolution because the first member who sees the message can jump in and answer which is a real game-changer for sites and study teams.
So a perfect example of that, let's say you have a patient that's waiting there trying to be enrolled into a study. The principal investigator has literally seconds and minutes at times to be able to assess what protocol would this subject fit into to be enrolled in a clinical trial. Well, if they have access to the medical monitor who can give them an answer immediately in the palm of their hand, that just saved them a potential patient that could be enrolled in that trial by getting to that key stakeholder person as quickly as possible with the information they need. So that's just kind of a broad overview of Connect and the way in which it worked. We're very happy to have this as a new product feature in our portfolio features.
HANNAH: So, at the end of your blog, you talk about a modern approach to site engagement. And you mention the pandemic has speeded up in terms of the uptake of new technology. But at the same time, you also say old habits die hard. Could you elaborate a bit on where you'd like to see the industry in terms of site engagement in, say, two years' time?
ANDREA PARISH: So, as we know, in the clinical research world, we have to face some clear realities. And that is the fact that we have been slow to adopt new technologies that will help transform the clinical trial process.
And if there's one thing that the pandemic did demonstrate for us in this space of clinical trials is that, if there is anything good that can come of that actually in our space, in our world, it still enables us to bring the clinical trial process to patients and study teams in a virtual space. OK.
So we were able to see that we had to change gears pretty quickly and be able to leverage these technologies to continue to allow these trials to continue and allow patients to be seen and treated despite the fact that they may not be able to get to Investigator site. So what that has taught us, though, is that the technology exists and is out there. We just got to continue to leverage those technologies even more than where we are now.
I think in two years' time, specific to site engagement, I think we're going to begin to see that there are going to be more and more technologies out there where we can work remotely with very few visits that will have to occur whether it be at sites or investigator institutions through the use of visual technologies and things of the like. So that's where I'd like to see us continue to go is don't be afraid of the new technology. Let's keep testing them out the way we did when we had to pull together when COVID hit, and we did so successfully.
HANNAH: Thanks, Andrea, for sharing your thoughts on site engagement. And that's your dose of Totally Clinical. For all the listeners out there, you can follow Teckro on Twitter, the handle is @teckroofficial, LinkedIn, and Facebook. And subscribe to our YouTube channel.
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See you on your next visit, and remember to bring your friends. Thanks for listening. Goodbye.
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