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Beginner’s Guide to Clinical Trial Management Systems

The days of using spreadsheets to painstakingly track patient enrollment and visits, financial metrics, regulatory documents, and other aspects of a clinical trial are thankfully over for most sites. From the largest research centers to the smallest, sites now recognize that a clinical trial management system (CTMS) can be configured to their needs and can bring powerful efficiencies insights, and compliance to their day-to-day operations.

What is a CTMS?

While other products exist to assist with specific trial activities like data capture, a CTMS centralizes and streamlines the way a trial is conducted, providing an end-to-end solution for managing all aspects of a clinical trial. A CTMS can assist with:

Almost all CTMS products include a comprehensive dashboard that enables sites to quickly and easily delve into any of these aspects of trial management, and promptly find the answers they need.

Who needs a CTMS?

As clinical trials become increasingly complex, any site, health system, or network can benefit from the capabilities a CTMS provides.

For example, Yale University’s Center for Clinical Investigation was already using an electronic medical record (EMR) to support daily patient care. When the team learned that their CTMS could strengthen billing and patient-safety compliance, while also streamlining research operations, they chose to leverage an integration between the two technologies. Now, when a medical center patient enrolls in a clinical trial, the CTMS flags that patient and sends information about the study to the EMR. If the participant visits the ER or is admitted to the hospital, the team is alerted. The integration also sends billing designations (routine vs. research) to the EMR, as well as a timeline of protocol procedures, tolerance windows for visits, and more. The research center staff report considerable time savings because now they only have to enter relevant data once; and managing billing compliance also has improved substantially.

Similarly, Velocity Clinical Research (formerly New Horizons), a site network based in Cincinnati, found that by implementing a CTMS, the team was better able to zero in on which recruitment efforts had the biggest payoff. In the end, they were able to recoup 50 percent of what they previously spent on TV advertising and funnel the savings into more efficient strategies. They have also found that the CTMS’s built-in communication tools have reduced patient no-shows by 10 percent.

Any site that is seeking to improve enrollment diversity, upgrade billing accuracy, increase profitability, improve budget forecasting, improve communication with patients or team members, or boost participant engagement can benefit from a CTMS. Not only can a CTMS simplify routine tasks and eliminate redundancy for teams, but all of these advantages can demonstrate to sponsors and CROs that your site is an efficient and organized research partner.

What to look for in a CTMS

Ideally, a CTMS should help your staff to visualize and optimize every aspect of your research portfolio. What are some other ways an efficient and effective CTMS should function? It should:

Advarra has two CTMS systems to assist any type of site in centralizing and optimizing their research operations. OnCore Enterprise Research System best serves academic medical centers and cancer centers that support a large research volume. Clinical Conductor is best suited for health systems, research sites, and site networks.

As your site conducts clinical trials to develop safe and effective treatments, it’s important to operate in a way to maximize time and resources. With so many research studies becoming more complex, using a centralized system to improve clinical trial management is pivotal to your site’s success. Download our eBook to examine several challenges you may face as you conduct research, and how a clinical trial management system (CMTS) can address them.

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