Study Finds Lack of Training Restrains Technology Benefits

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Many Clinical Researchers Say Tech Systems Are Not Intuitive, Easy to Access

Clinical trial professionals are muddling through when it comes to grappling with technology day-to-day on the job, with about one-third of those responding to an in-depth survey saying the systems they use aren’t intuitive or easy to access, and only about one-third saying they feel adequately equipped with tools and training to do their job.

One casualty: Efficiency. About two-thirds of respondents said duplicate data entry isn’t being reduced by automated sharing between systems.

“Too often, we get distracted by the promise of a technology without thinking about the potential user,” says Jim Kremidas, executive director of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). “We put far more money into shiny, new tools than we do in crafting meaningful standards and training to help users maximize them to the benefit of patients and the entire clinical trial industry.”

The survey of 1,227 professionals across the clinical trial spectrum was designed by Forte and ACRP to examine the status of training and standards for technology usage in the industry. The findings reveal a few disconnects within the clinical research enterprise (Download Report).

For example, while about 80% of respondents said the training they’d received was relevant to their job, fewer than half agreed with the idea that their organization has a training program that “sets them up for success.”

Another example: While about 80% of the respondents said they know what’s expected of them for using clinical research technology, 27% said their organization did not have mandates to use clinical research technology. Just over one-third (35%) said their technology usage was not even considered as a part of their performance evaluation. “It’s tough to ensure quality without adequate measurements and metrics,” Kremidas said.

FREE Webinar — How Technology Competency and Adoption Impact You and Your Organization: ACRP and Forte Survey Results

In this webinar, Wendy Tate, Director of Analytics at Forte and Beth Harper, Workforce Innovation Officer at ACRP share highlights from the survey results with a focus on discussing:

  • Barriers to competency achievement and technology adoption
  • How individuals can enhance their individual competency
  • Best practices for how organizations can foster improved adoption of clinical research technologies

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The largest group of survey respondents (37%) came from academic medical centers, with investigative sites (19%), cancer centers (10%), health systems (9%), and contract research organizations (8%) rounding out the top respondent organizational types.

The largest group of respondents (34%) selected “site-focused coordinator that works directly with clinical trial participants” as the job description most closely fitting their position. Nearly a quarter (23%) said they were site-focused managers of day-to-day clinical research activities and/or overseers of staff. Another 24% were either site-focused coordinators who don’t work directly with clinical trial participants or site-focused leaders who manage organizational strategy but not day-to-day clinical research activities.

Looking at different types of clinical research technology system functions, the survey found Electronic Data Capture (EDC), IVRS/Registration Systems, Clinical Trial Management System (CTMS) software, eRegulatory Tools, and eSource were the most common tools being used among respondents who described themselves as “advanced” in technical skills and knowledge. CTMS and eSource topped the list for those self-described as “proficient.” Self-described “novices” reported the most comfort using investigator payment systems and eConsent.

Author: Michael Causey