CROs Can Make Enormous Leap with Adaptive Operations

Outsourcing-pharmaBy Nick Taylor, 03-Sep-2009

An “enormous leap in productivity” can be achieved by applying the principles of adaptive trials to broader operations, such as recruitment, according to a CEO that thinks CROs have to adopt the method. 

Speaking to Outsourcing-Pharma, Michael Rosenberg, CEO of Health Decisions, said that adaptive operations can make a 10 to 40 per cent improvement in cost and timelines.

These savings are achieved by collecting information and adapting your practices in response. For instance, by tracking where money is being spent on recruitment and what mediums are working the process can be improved after it has started.

By using this methodology Rosenberg claims that Health Decisions enrols 76 per cent of trials on or ahead of time. In July 2008 Maura Musciacco, author of Online Patient Recruitment Strategies – Optimizing the clinical trial process, said the industry average is around 10 per cent.

Despite these advantages Rosenberg said that contract research organisations (CROs) have been slow to adopt the methods. He attributed this to the lack of technology available for capturing the information, which is vital to performing adaptive operations.

Electronic data capture (EDC) systems are generally unsuitable for the task and Rosenberg thinks they must evolve to collect operational data and make it easily available to the user.

This is important for CROs, according to Rosenberg who expects that companies will have to adopt adaptive operations. He believes that when market conditions were favourable CROs and pharmas did not consider using adaptive operations, especially given the technological barrier.

Furthermore, technology has been used by the industry to speed up old processes instead of changing the way tasks are preformed. However, Rosenberg expects the economic downturn and difficulties facing the industry to be the catalyst for change.

Solving the technology problem

To get around the lack of suitable technology Health Decisions developed its own. This includes web EDC but a digital pen is more effective, according to Rosenberg.

When the pen is used to fill in a form the data is transmitted to Health Decisions. Rosenberg claims that this system is faster, easier and more accurate the EDC.

By using these methods Health Decisions has achieved strong growth over the past few years. This slowed down in the past year but Rosenberg said the situation is improving and that the advantages Health Decisions offer are particularly desirable in the current market.


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