Innovation in Clinical Research

Erika Stevens

Clinical Researcher—August 2021 (Volume 35, Issue 6)


Erika Stevens, MA


How can innovation support the clinical research workforce?

The topic of innovation may not typically resonate within said workforce, but leveraging this framework could be the key to sustainability in the overall clinical research enterprise.

Innovation focuses on larger scale transformation initiatives that are cross-functional and tied to specified outcomes. In the field of clinical research, which is driven by data, constrained by time, and compelled to regulatory compliance, new initiatives could bring vast improvement.

Some examples of transformation in the clinical research workforce include remote data review, risk-based monitoring, and electronic data capture. These innovations redistributed the workforce, enabled real-time information, and improved the quality of data—all of which contribute to accelerating workforce performance to bring therapies to market and ultimately improve health.

The first step in the innovation continuum is to assess the current issue or problem. For example, the clinical research workforce quickly needed to pivot and respond to the global pandemic. The next phase of innovation is to bring forth a solution or multiple solutions. The activity of identifying the improvement should leverage current tools, methods, and technologies to reframe the approach.

The new idea(s) should bring value and efficiency (cost, time, resources). The unique or “out of the box” solution improves quality and provides a benefit. The result is a positive shift in the business outcome, which requires a cross-functional review of the various business workstreams.

I wish you all the best jusqu’a la prochaine fois (until the next time),

Erika Stevens, MA, is the 2021 Chair of the Association Board of Trustees for ACRP.