Thought Leaders Discuss Value of Competencies, Communication to Advance Clinical Trials

Ryan Bailey, MA, Senior Clinical Researcher, Rho

Ryan Bailey, Senior Learning and Performance Specialist, Rho

“Identifying competencies is just the start; a successful clinical research workforce is dependent on established competencies,” Bree Burks, Vice President of Strategy and Site Solutions at Veeva Systems told attendees of the Virtual ACRP 2020 Conference yesterday (June 25).

Establishing competencies will help the workforce go from reactive to proactive, she said. Further, “competencies must be assessed, and their impact must be measured,” Burks said. She also suggested “national and global organizations are better positioned to…manage competency programs.”

Other speakers stressed the importance of communications. Ryan Bailey, Senior Learning and Performance Specialist at Rho, suggested taking a few minutes to think before communicating, whether via text, e-mail, or some other means. It begins with knowing what you want to accomplish with a given communication, Bailey said.

For example, is your communication intended to raise awareness, educate, solicit feedback, request action, and/or promote behavioral change? Tailor your message and style to your desired outcome, Bailey said. Before hitting the send button, he advised asking yourself:

  • Is my communication rational and logical?
  • Is it emotionally and psychologically appealing?
  • Is it delivered by someone who is credible?
  • Is it arriving at the opportune time?

Communication specialist Suzanne Kincaid, Chief Operating Officer at Aperio Clinical Outcomes, weighed in on the important topic of timing. “Consider your recipient” before sending an “impulsive” communication, she said. In other words, just because something just popped into your head, doesn’t mean its necessarily the time to share it with the world or a specific person, Kincaid said.

When getting ready to reach out to a peer, think about their own situation. For example, if they are just back from vacation or it’s first thing in the morning in their time zone, now probably isn’t the optimal moment for your communication, she said.

Attention-span is another important factor, Kincaid said. Citing studies that show the average attention span has dropped from 12 to eight seconds since 2000, she emphasized the strategic success of short, action-oriented communications. She’s also a big advocate of old-fashioned handwritten snail mail communications, especially to say thanks for mark an important milestone.

Kincaid offered some proven email tips, including:

  • Include a meaningful subject line.
  • Make clear what you need from the recipient.
  • Make clear who needs to act and the deadline for movement.
  • Briefly explain why you need their response and/or action.

“Keep it brief and use bullets,” Kincaid stressed. She also offered ideas for how to better craft communications. For example, don’t say “we have a problem,” in a communication with a colleague. Instead, try “I have a problem, and I need your help,” Kincaid advised.

Author: Michael Causey