Digitising Clinical Trials: How Technology Influences Sponsor Collaboration

Technology has become a pervasive influence in multiple fields, bringing about significant changes that have fast-tracked progress. Clinical trial sites and sponsors that are not keeping up with technological changes are rapidly falling behind, increasing their risk of losing precious time, money, and resources.

In our recent webinar, Going Digital: Overcoming Sponsor Resistance to Change, Simon Taylor, European Strategy Lead, Nish Bhan, Sr. Manager Solutions Engineering, and Keith Wright, Director of Industry Strategy, centred their discussion around the benefits and challenges of going digital and overcoming sponsor reluctance to change.

Closing the clinical trial capacity gap, centralising and integrating various systems and technologies to improve efficiency, and automating repetitive tasks with technology are some of the most significant ways that technology is revolutionising clinical trials today.

What is the Capacity Gap and How Do We Close it?

The capacity gap research sites face is largely caused by the increasing complexity of trials and the limited resources available. With a shortage of clinical research associates (CRAs) and an inadequate number of sites to accommodate new studies, there is a significant difference between the actual resources needed and the number of clinical trials that need to be conducted each year.

The Clinical Research Capacity Gap comparison chart

Site enablement technology plays a crucial role in closing this divide. With capabilities to not only simplify document management but also streamline workflows, expand patient consent options, and enhance collaborative communication with sponsors, it’s no wonder sites prefer to work with sponsors that enable them with the tools and technology to make their jobs easier.

Sites Prefer Sponsors Who Deploy Florence statistics

Curious to see site enablement technology in action? Request a demo of Florence’s Site Enablement Platform today!

Everything has a Cost

There is a significant cost often overlooked when working with sites across Europe and NHS trusts—time. In a recent incident, a site expressed its frustration at having to spend more than 20 hours per week on various administrative tasks such as paperwork, obtaining signatures, document retrieval and compilation, and filing.

Consider this: What if your site could operate without the burden of excessive paperwork? Regardless of the task at hand, whether acquiring a signature or enrolling a patient, the investment of time and effort remains the same. Wouldn’t you prefer your staff to focus their attention on participants instead of being entangled in administrative duties?

There are enormous costs associated with doing nothing. Whether it’s fireproof cabinet upkeep or worse, in the form of inspection findings. Ensuring that you are compliant end to end and operationally capable, is a crucial part of running long-term, successful research.

“It’s 2023, right? There are so many things [in the world] that have gone digital. The fact that the research industry is still often apt to adopt technology needs to change.”

3 Reasons to Go Digital

  • 1

    The world is digital: Technology enables staff to do more with less. Some sites have seen up to a 40% decrease in study start-up timelines. Turnaround times can drop from two weeks to two days—making a significant impact at research sites.

  • 2
    Streamlined workflows: Chasing signatures is a time-consuming and inefficient task. In paper-based processes with numerous documents circulating throughout buildings, the risk of misplacement and necessitating process restarts is amplified.
  • 3
    Remote monitoring: The ability to avoid having someone confined to a room and taking away the coordinator’s time for document retrieval is crucial. All of these tasks can be completed before the arrival of monitors on site. We have observed a trend where customers are spending little to no time on-site, yet accomplishing significantly more.

Implementing with Sponsors

When it comes to working with site technology, it’s crucial to prioritise what sponsors consider important. Our panellists have identified three key aspects: remote monitoring, automating repetitive tasks, and gaining deeper insights into operational efficiency. Focusing on these areas alone can significantly boost efficiency and elevate a site’s operations.

“Why do we have three-day meetings when you can remotely monitor the documents from home? It’s such a simple change and a simple win. We believe it should be baked into every site’s process as a standard, rather than what it is at the moment in Europe, which is maybe a ‘nice to have’.”

In addition to catering to your sponsors’ priorities, effective communication and thorough preparation of new digital processes, including establishing standard operating procedures (SOPs), are crucial for a seamless implementation and transition. These elements are vital in getting your sponsors fully engaged and onboarded, ensuring successful integration into digital workflows.

The Time is NOW

To close the capacity gap and reduce costs, leveraging technology as a bridge is vital. Florence’s Site Enablement Platform enhances workflows and facilitates seamless communication between sites and sponsors. Prioritising technology optimisation for operational efficiency signifies the future of clinical research. Aligning site technology with sponsor priorities achieves seamless digital integration, shaping the future of clinical research in Europe.

Ready to join the technology revolution? Contact us today to learn how Florence’s Site Enablement Platform can help streamline your research operations.