Mary D’Rozario first caught my attention through Twitter during the 2012 DIA Annual Meeting. Her Tweets about clinical research stood out from the crowd. Always insightful and witty, her messages offer a refreshing perspective from the industry. Interested in hearing more than just a 140 character Tweet, I asked her to talk about the importance of physicians and sites in clinical research.
Clinical Research Performance, Inc. (CRP) specializes in site consultation for clinical trials. Tell us more about CRP and how they’re impacting clinical research.
Clinical Research Performance, Inc. provides a “port in the storm” for private practice physicians. We help them have a positive and profitable experience with research. For those of us in clinical research, the pace of change in our industry can seem dizzying, but when you look at everything else going on in healthcare, it’s not that bad. Research should be very attractive to private practice physicians.
Physicians in private practice are on hot coals everywhere they turn. Their expenses are going up, their reimbursements are getting more complicated, and they don’t know how the Affordable Care Act is going to play out for them. They’re selling their practices at a record rate, and when those practices move into great big healthcare systems, they tend to stop doing research.
The research industry needs these physicians, but at the same time it tends to give them the cold shoulder. Best-selling author Seth Godin recently wrote a blog post about “Customers who break things.” Who are the customers who break things in clinical research? If you are a Sponsor or CRO, they are the investigators. But if you are a physician, you’ve probably had an experience where you have felt burned by clinical research. If you haven’t, you know someone who has.
Those of us in research often can spot why: the practice didn’t evaluate the budget; they didn’t evaluate their patient population, etc.. But to a physician who failed in clinical research because of this, that doesn’t matter. They wanted to be successful and their success is important to the industry, but they didn’t have the resources they needed. We help physicians steer a course toward success.
Based on your experience, what are some of the common traits of successful sites?
Successful sites have a study coordinator who connects with patients. I wish I could just repeat that 100 times. A successful site creates structures that support that. For example, if your study coordinator is talking to patients, they aren’t doing regulatory documents. If they are connecting with patients, it is very likely they have a personality type that isn’t great with data. More and more sites are using data coordinators to support great study coordinators.
Again, this isn’t necessarily a success that our industry supports. Study coordinators are bombarded with calls, e-mails, and data queries. A study monitor is measured by what kind of response they can get out of a study coordinator using those methods, and in turn these monitors grade study coordinators on how fast they respond.
I’m convinced that is the exact wrong way to grade a study coordinator. I’d like to see more coaching for everyone on how to best support study coordinators. This requires taking organizational psychology a step further than just to the site, but to the industry as a whole. One of the founding values of CRP is “harmony” because that is the only way our industry can be successful – by having a lot of organizations all working together towards a common goal.
Mary D’Rozario founded Clinical Research Performance, Inc. in 2012 to help private practices develop research programs. She tweets about clinical research issues and current issues in medical and public health @marydrozario.