How Remote Monitoring Increases Regulatory Compliance for Your Studies

This article was originally published on  by Andrea Bastek, Director of Innovation at Florence.

The rapid shift to remote site access and monitoring during COVID is beneficial to keeping study timelines on track and indicative of the future of clinical operations. However, this rapid innovation rate will create study failure risk if not viewed through how it impacts regulatory compliance.

Outside of patient safety, one of the biggest fears a sponsor faces is receiving an inspection report with:

Failure to ensure proper monitoring of the investigation and failure to ensure that the investigation is conducted in accordance with the general investigational plan and protocols contained in the IND [21 CFR 312.50 and 312.56(a)]. 1

According to the FDA Bioresearch Monitoring (BIMO) Fiscal Year 2019 Metrics 2:

  • Common Sponsor/Monitor/CRO Observations from 113 inspections include “Failure to bring non-compliant investigators into compliance,”
  • Common Sponsor-Investigator Inspectional Observations include “Failure to ensure proper monitoring of the clinical investigation”

With life sciences technology vendors quickly introducing “remote monitoring” solutions, the risk of non-compliant software, processes, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) may have the unintended consequence of putting your study at risk.

How many sponsors are re-writing monitoring plans with COVID-19 as justification for their updates? How many Premarket Approval Application (PMA) or New Drug Application (NDA) submissions this year will fail to meet their pre-prescribed monitoring goals?  How will these failures and findings affect the overall approval timeline?

While it is unclear the long-term impact accelerated shifts to remote monitoring will have on the industry, one thing is clear: we need to be laser-focused on how to ensure compliance while living in a season of accelerated innovation.

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So, how do you avoid compliance risks when introducing new technology like a remote site access platform?

Adopting a technology platform is difficult for any business, especially those with tight compliance regulations like those in the clinical trial industry.

As a software vendor in the clinical trial space, we often find ourselves completing detailed Request for Proposals (RFPs) with lengthy Security Questionnaires’ while responding to numerous compliance questions that arise during the vendor selection process.

Sponsors and CROs are often hesitant to move to remote processes because of compliance fears. But, through 10,000+ study site implementations on an eISF + Remote Site Access platform at Florence, we’ve found the opposite is true: purpose-built, site-centric remote access solutions dramatically increase compliance.

Why does compliance increase? Here are the top three ways I’ve found sponsors and CROs increase compliance with a purpose-built, site-centric, remote access platform:

In Conclusion

The benefits of integrating your trial sites on an eISF + Remote Site Access platform extend beyond the immediate impact of completing monitoring visits virtually. A purpose-built platform accelerates your overall trial timelines and creates a conducive environment to remain compliant before, during and after your trial.

In this “new normal” we are all adapting to, the willingness to adopt remote monitoring platforms in clinical trials will help differentiate the most successful sponsors from the rest.

About the Author: Andrea Bastek is the Director of Innovation at Florence, the largest eISF + Remote Site Access platform in clinical research with more than 10,000 study sites across 44 countries connected.  She has extensive experience in the clinical trials space for medical devices, including deep collaboration with sites to drive processes that ensure successful study participation.  She is committed to finding workflow efficiencies that improve clinical trial execution.  She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.