Increased usage of more sophisticated metrics can boost patient recruitment and satisfaction scores, a number of experts in the field report.
“Metrics are important to track in so many aspects of a clinical trials operation, including recruitment,” says Shirley Trainor-Thomas, MHSA, chief marketing officer with GuideStar Clinical Trials Management. “A clear understanding of how study volunteers are getting to your site is critical.” Armed with this kind of knowledge, you can better focus your efforts for future trials, she adds.
“Metrics can also provide incentive and a gauge for investigators for where they are in respect to others,” says Victor Chen, principal with The C and K Clinical Group. “We create charts and provide them to all investigators weekly, congratulating stars, and urging laggards,” he reports. Metrics also help inform internal stakeholders to help “communicate where the study stands.”
“I also use [metrics to form] a to-do list on where the patient is,” says Heather Wright, clinical research coordinator with the Tampa Bay Clinical Research Center. “They are also extremely helpful for the recruitment tracking that monitors do for each site visit during enrollment.”
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Skillful collection and usage of metrics have other uses, says Trainor-Thomas. They can “give you justification with sponsors about the resources you need to tap into to achieve those successful recruitment efforts,” she notes. At her company, they’re used to help evaluate each communication mechanism. “Whether it be as simple as a lunch-and-learn for the office staff so they know to mention [the availability of trials] to patients, or as complex as a multimedia advertising plan, keep track of what works, as well as what it costs.”
Metrics can help when negotiating a study budget with a sponsor, Trainor-Thomas adds. “Your data will demonstrate that you have a proven track record that is worth additional funds in the budget,” she explains. “Sponsors seek sites that can enroll, and if you have a plan and the metrics showing how you do it and what it costs, they often find it worth their investment.”
Author: Michael Causey