Academic Medical Center Cuts Study Activation Times by Leveraging Data

Leigh Burgess, MHA, MEd, MA, Vice President for Research Operations, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health

One of the leading academic medical centers in New England has successfully leveraged adaptive business intelligence to foster change and significantly streamline clinical trial operations, a program leader told attendees of  ACRP’s Southeast Regional Conference in Durham, N.C. earlier this month (October 4).

“It’s like fine tuning the buttons on a stereo” to get better sound and performance, said Leigh Burgess, MHA, MEd, MA, vice president for research operations at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health in New Hampshire.

Key statistic: Dartmouth has cut study activation times from 147 days to 108 days since implementing its program, and Burgess expects those numbers to continue to fall. “We’re still working on” realizing the benefits, she said.

The foundation of Dartmouth’s program has been breaking business intelligence into five components:

  • A focus on decisions. “The focus is on information [that is] relevant to decisions,” Burgess said. “This improves the basis of decision-making.”
  • Data collection. “This is a core function of [business intelligence] and includes the link to databases or third-party systems,” she said.
  • Data preparation. It’s imperative to collect “useful” information from the raw data in order to inform decisions, Burgess said.
  • Data representation. “Information generated in data processing should be provided to users in an adequate and appropriate way,” she said.
  • Business-related information. “Quality assurance” must be the focus when selecting data, she said. “Too much data complicates the process and puts high demands on capacities, while too little data leads to incomplete or no results,” Burgess said.

Harnessed effectively, business intelligence can simplify data access and information sharing, strengthen the decision-making processes, “help you [better] understand your business,” reduce the chance of bottlenecks, better identify waste in the system, and allow for “real-time analysis with quick navigation,” Burgess said.

Author: Michael Causey