Experts Share Lessons Learned in Rapid Study Start-up

Jeri Burr, MS, RN-BC, CCRC, FACRP, Executive Director, Utah Trial Innovation Center at the University of Utah

Exciting news about potential COVID-19 vaccines in recent days serves as a reminder of how admirably the clinical trial industry has risen to the challenge of battling a worldwide health crisis. From rolling up collective sleeves and putting in long hours of research, to being open to new ways of conducting trials and harnessing technologies, clinical trial professionals on the front line have shone brightly in 2020.

Three such professionals from the University of Utah are now sharing some of their lessons learned when they were able to launch COVID-19–related trials in under two weeks.

“Networking with the right resources to assemble a highly experienced team can enable rapid deployment of clinical trials during a crisis such as a worldwide pandemic,” says Jeri Burr, MS, RN-BC, CCRC, FACRP, executive director of the Utah Trial Innovation Center at the University of Utah.

“Lead with confidence,” says Nina Pacchia, PhD, CCRC, a program director with the university. Pacchia also stresses the importance of open, frequent, and streamlined communication among all team members. Doing so effectively will “foster trust,” she notes.

“In order to quickly roll out a large investigational study you need a large, adaptive toolbox, an experienced team, and a willingness to keep your eye on the overall project health,” adds Sam Sorenson, BS, CCRC, project manager III at the university.

A final note from Burr about the importance of maintaining focus: “Although messaging from the media can distort and hinder our research, we need to stay the course to conduct rigorous clinical trials, which should be done with any unproven therapy, as everyone is trying to do something about a disease they don’t understand.”

Author: Michael Causey