Smaller Sites Overlook Their Own Strengths When Competing for Trial Business

Candida Barlow

Candida Barlow, Clinical Research Strategist, Advarra

Small and mid-size study sites might be selling themselves short and missing out on opportunities to win new trial assignments, in part because they don’t know how to isolate their strong points and promote themselves to sponsors and others, says Candida Barlow, a clinical research strategist with Advarra.

Barlow sees a “gap” in the ability of many independent clinicians, smaller healthcare organizations or systems, and newly dedicated research sites when it comes to recognizing some of the key performance indicators (KPIs) they should unearth and share with potential new sponsors. “Many don’t know how to track [the strongest] KPIs and they’re not marketing themselves appropriately to sponsors,” she says.

She suggests that sites facing off against bigger competitors look at how quickly they can process contracts, activate and close-out studies, handle regulatory oversight, and leverage their closeness to their local communities. Such nimbleness may enable them to “cut the red tape” that sometimes slows large organizations that don’t have the advantage of strong homegrown roots.

“Smaller sites tend to know everyone in the community, and are more agile,” Barlow says, adding that they can play that up as a strength and leverage it to explore trials in different health indications than usual and/or expand within their existing focal areas. For example, a site already strong in certain types of cardiology trials might examine how it can get established in new cardio areas, even as it looks to transfer a strong track record and KPIs to win business in a completely new line of trials, Barlow says.

“Smaller sites can go up against bigger competitors” if they learn to highlight and share their strengths with sponsors, she says.

Author: Michael Causey