Study Coordinators Want More Respect from Sponsors

Kristen Kuzia Perkins, MS, CCRP, Associate Clinical Trial Manager, TESARO

Kristen Kuzia Perkins, MS, CCRP, Associate Clinical Trial Manager, TESARO

While they may not always show it, most sponsors deeply value and respect the work done by study coordinators, says one-time coordinator Kristen Kuzia Perkins, MS, CCRP, associate clinical trial manager at TESARO, an oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company. “Sponsors want to see them as partners in the clinical trial process,” she adds.

The problem: “Most study coordinators don’t feel sponsors view them this way,” Perkins says. “I can tell you that first hand.”

Another problem: Study coordinator workload has vastly increased. “When I was a study coordinator, I worked on five [studies at a time],” she recalls. TESARO research found that today’s study coordinators can be working on as many as 20 studies simultaneously with multiple sponsors.

“I always felt that [sponsors’] best interests were always the priority, and that at the site level they were barking orders at us,” Perkins says.

She can take the sponsor perspective today and understand that everyone involved in the many moving parts of a trial is “working at the speed of light,” and it’s not always easy for sponsors to show coordinators the love they deserve.

Webinar: Sponsor Best Practices from a Study Coordinator Perspective: Changes Sponsors Should Make Today. Join Perkins June 13 to learn actionable changes sponsors can make today to reshape clinical trial management with study coordinators in mind. Tools and templates will be shared to support organizational changes, including: phone scripts, milestone surveys, mini protocols, and study checklists. View Program Details  

However, one relatively simple way for sponsors to demonstrate their commitment to study coordinators is to produce a newsletter filled with different forms of education related to a specific study or therapeutic area and other helpful content. Some sponsors are already doing this, but they probably aren’t maximizing it as a tool, Perkins says.

“We found ways to [produce a newsletter] better so that it actually targets the people who are doing all the work,” Perkins adds. For example, study coordinators prefer a quarterly, single-page newsletter; done more frequently, they found much of the information duplicative. They also like trial-related information, such as what milestones have been reached and enrollment goals achieved, as opposed to industry-related data.

“They are really interested in what’s going on at the other sites” that they can measure themselves against, Perkins says she has found.

Among other benefits, such communication adds an element of competition that can improve everyone’s performance, Perkins says.

Author: Michael Causey