Struggling musician? Tell me about it. I've been playing, or should I say, trying to play the guitar for a few years now. There are many different methodologies to playing a guitar, but at the end of the day, it's an instrument. And when I am not pretending to be Tom Petty on the weekends, I spend my days working in our technology department here at BBK Worldwide. The instrument I use on a daily basis is TrialCentralNetTM (TCN®), a metric-driven patient recruitment portal. So, where am I going with all this? Well, here is a quote from Johann Sebastian Bach that will set the tone for this blog post: "It's easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself."
Real-time reporting is king in today's clinical trial patient recruitment landscape. Reports like enrollment projections and screening and randomization rates allow us to make project optimizations at the drop of a hat. Back to music for a minute: One factor to keep in mind is if your instrument is out of tune, then you'll lose credibility with your audience. What do I mean by this? Metrics and reporting allow us to constantly know where the study is, where it's headed, and where it needs to be… But only when the data is tuned up and clean.
If I allowed my guitar to fall out of tune, it would continue to sound worse as time went on. This same idea directly relates to enrollment projections reporting. Without mid-course corrections or tune-ups, you'll lose sight of your study's end goal. The ability to estimate when screening or randomization goals will be met – by using various data points like screen failure percentage, last patient in, number of active sites, etc., – is key to optimizing existing tactics, as well as developing new tactics to support clinical research studies.
What's more, introducing advertising tactics to clinical research studies provides a boost to enrollment numbers similar to how playing a song in a higher or lower key impacts the output of the guitar. The most accurate metric to measure advertising outreach efficacy is by monitoring screening rates against important data points. When advertising flights are deployed they can produce substantial spikes in screening rates. Accurate reporting will show the direct correlation and value of running advertising. With the boost in patient referrals, study teams are able to estimate how many study operation months or days we are able to save. If these projections are showing that enrollment goals will not be met on time, the media tactics can be expanded or supplemented accordingly.
Media outreach also produces a large amount of patient referrals to sites, but how do you know sites are actually following up with these potential patients? Beginning to sense a theme here…? Check the data. One note (pun intended) to mention is that reporting is only as good as the data. As we like to say here at BBK Worldwide: garbage in, garbage out. Therefore "tuning" the data becomes significant because of the visibility of reporting to multiple audiences. One of these visible metrics is measuring site performance, including tracking patient referral processing. Evaluating percentages of patient referrals viewed per site allows monitors to act quickly with site follow up. But why stop there? Monitors can also gauge when they feel sites may need to be turned off to media due to a high volume of patient referrals.
Overall, if you followed the theme or rhythm of this blog, you noticed there are varying metrics and evaluations that can be utilized through the instrument of reporting. But the most important takeaway is that when reporting is used to its full potential and the data is properly “tuned,” it can provide invaluable insights to different audiences, allowing for proactive consultation and tactics to support and achieve enrollment goals.
To read more blog posts about BBK Worldwide's patient recruitment technology, click here.