The multifaceted complexities of clinical trials, for as long as we can remember, caused sponsors to seek out partners and collaborators to help ease the path for new therapies in development. After all, this is why CROs (contract research organizations) and eClinical solutions companies exist. As the industry continues to evolve, these partnerships are becoming more crucial than ever, particularly as they relate to the implementation of more and more advanced technologies. Technology that enables seamless and remote collection of accurate and validated data hold near limitless potential for improving the clinical research experience for all parties involved, but to do things right, we need to make sure we’re working with the right partners.
Following are three tips that I hope will help you as you consider which partners to work with and how to ensure a successful partnership.
#1. Focus on Core Competencies – Work with Specialists
Today’s advanced technologies require oversight from experienced partners who a). possess comprehensive expertise in their core area and b). have successfully implemented these technologies in studies. No singular company can build it all. Working with best-of-breed partners will bring subject matter expertise to the table to understand how different solutions can be integrated into operational workflows and how to derive more value through integrations based on the therapeutic area and protocol requirements. They can then help to achieve effective deployment of the technology and optimal data quality that can be leveraged to provide insights that were not possible when working in silos or without strongly aligned solutions.
#2. Create Alignment – On Values and On Processes
Collaboration always goes more smoothly when everyone is on the same page. It’s important to seek out partners that share your organizations core values and attitudes around therapy development, patient experience, and scientific approach. If your goals and mission are aligned, it becomes much easier to integrate internal and external team members. Document your shared mission statement and KPI’s for a successful partnership to ensure you are working toward the same goals. With everyone marching in the same direction from a philosophical standpoint, success is much more likely.
It’s also important to find practical alignment related to how you and partners will work together. For areas like governance and communications, similar philosophies are key foundations for success. Through instituting multiple workstreams designed to keep an array of teams and stakeholders on track and looped in (such as Executive Steering, Business Development, Operational and Technical focused teams), effective alignment can be reached through well-documented and open communication channels. You don’t have to do everything the same way, but misalignment regarding how you conduct business can create friction that puts the partnership – and your studies in jeopardy.
#3. Build Trust – Embrace Transparency
To truly move beyond the client/vendor relationship into true partnership requires trust and transparency. Once you’ve identified partners who are aligned with your mission, vision, and overall philosophies, it’s time to set up some rules of engagement. Be as clear and up front as possible at this stage when laying out which partner will play which roles and what is expected of each partner. Trust is key – if you’ve hired a team of experts that specializes in a certain area of research, let them take the lead in that area. Take their advice and trust in the insights they bring. Involve them as early as possible – allow them to weigh in on how best to set the foundation for success in their area of expertise at the design stage. Trust, here, also means feeling absolute comfort that your partners will share and possess study information as intended and otherwise keep complete confidentiality. Whereas a vendor may be kept on a “need-to-know” basis, a partner needs access to information so that they can provide maximum value.
Clinical trials will continue to become increasingly complex as the demand for new therapies and corresponding regulatory scrutiny grow. Technology partnerships can help sponsors implement innovative new approaches to conducting efficient and successful clinical trials, but steps need to be taken to ensure these partnerships are effective. Following the tips in this blog to identify quality partners that are aligned with your vision can help set the stage for long-term, rewarding partner relationships. For more information on how you can partner Trialbee to employ leading-edge technologies and make the recruitment and enrollment process easier for patients, visit www.trialbee.com