Recent Clinical Research Conferences Marked by Enthusiasm, Trust for Tech, and Overall Industry Optimism
The return of in-person events has provided a welcome opportunity for the clinical research industry to reengage, network, learn, develop new business, and strengthen partnerships and relationships. BEKhealth recently attended, exhibited, and presented at two of the industry’s more prominent events – the SCRS Global Site Solutions Summit and MAGI West – and noted the presence of some common themes:
Industry-Wide Enthusiasm for Tech
The shift toward technology is more apparent than ever, driven by the realization that finding trial candidates through advertising and social media campaigns is not always effective. As recently as three years ago, the idea of integrating trial-matching technology from a third-party software provider would have been met with resistance, due in large part to a reluctance among research sites to share access to sensitive patient data. With the increased number of trials, staffing challenges, and growing complexity of protocols, sites have accepted reality and understand they need to lean more heavily on the range of technology solutions custom-built for clinical research. Doing so will enable them to not only execute the trials in their current portfolio with compliance, but also generate more revenue by taking on more research opportunities.
Integration and Ease of Use Are Critical
The clinical research industry’s overdue embrace of technology is good news. On the other side of the coin, however, site managers and coordinators are feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of solutions available to them. Even though many of these platforms can ultimately increase efficiency and alleviate many of the manual and labor headaches associated with feasibility, the fact is, research sites do not have the resources to invest in multiple disparate and disconnected technology platforms and lack the time to learn how to use them. The message for technology providers is clear – ensure your platforms can be easily integrated alongside legacy systems and make them as easy as possible for research staff to use.
Enhancing Support for Research Sites
The volume and velocity of research trials combined with pervasive staffing issues, previously mentioned, are posing significant challenges for research sites that are often underfunded, are siloed, and struggle to secure timely compensation. With growing awareness of the critical role they play, research sites are slowly but surely starting to find their voice, insisting on playing a more active role in the industry and earning better treatment, payment, and support from deep-pocketed pharmaceutical companies and research organizations. With so many opportunities on the horizon for all facets of the research industry to thrive, the industry needs to shed the “we’ve always done it this way” mindset and change its approach as it relates to supporting and uplifting research sites.
The two events enabled all stakeholders in clinical research to come together for strategic conversations and to put “faces to names” for an industry that tends to operate remotely. Research site teams arrived eager to learn about trends, best practices, and ways in which they can conduct trials better. Pharma companies and research organizations worked eagerly to develop new business relationships. Both conferences featured an overarching sense of optimism and positivity, stemming from the knowledge that, after a few tough years, the industry is back to doing what people working within it love most – improving the lives of those who are suffering through the development of new medications and therapies.