SCOPE 2023: Insights, Observations and Opportunities
I recently had the opportunity to escape the New England winter and visit sunny Orlando, FL for my first SCOPE conference. On the tail of the pandemic shakeup over the last 3 years, the resounding consensus was that “SCOPE is back!”, with an overwhelming presence of in-person attendees. The value of in-person interaction has been a hot debate since flexible work from home policies gained popularity, but there is no doubt that an in-person conference like SCOPE enables valuable opportunities to learn from each other. Learning opportunities at SCOPE manifested in multiple ways, both expected and surprising.
Sharing Knowledge Across Stakeholders
To align with Greenphire’s focus on financial optimization in clinical research, I attended several presentations and fireside chats that addressed forecasting, budgeting, and contracting. The presentations and panel discussions provided a great platform to share perspectives and insights from peers trying to tackle the same types of problems. Speakers and audience members both provided valuable intel on what works best for their business and what has not worked.
Following a presentation on forecasting, a site representative asked for guidance on how they could most effectively incorporate the rising operational costs into their budget without straining the sponsor relationship – i.e. should inflation be built into site overhead and what overhead percent is appropriate? The presenter’s opinion was that each individual contracted rate should be carefully considered over a bulk overhead increase, while an audience member from another sponsor suggested a specific overhead range that she felt would be acceptable for negotiations in today’s economic climate. The takeaway for the site was that there are many ways to address inflation and each sponsor will have their own unique perspective. Transparency is as important as ever to ensure that these types of concerns are addressed collaboratively. As sites are key stakeholders in clinical operations, it would be great to see even more opportunities at SCOPE for sites to present and lead thought discussions on how to best serve their trial participants.
When not attending presentations , I spent a lot of time at the booth catching up with current clients and meeting new, interested attendees looking to learn more about Greenphire’s solutions. I was amazed to see collaboration take place at our booth across multiple attendees and stakeholders from different companies.
Following a presentation on easing the burden of patient logistics by our CEO, Jim Murphy, and representatives from Merck and CISCRP, an existing Greenphire client approached our booth to follow up on how to maximize site adoption. Site adoption and training are two areas where Greenphire devotes significant time and resources as we realize the importance of understanding sites’ needs and challenges. While I was sharing tips on how we approach the task of global site adoption for our solutions, a representative from another client approached the booth and shared details on what adoption strategies were most successful for them – superb timing and a scenario you would only encounter at an in-person event.
The second client had learned that many of their sites rarely open the study newsletter from the sponsor. In response, they invested in more in-person training for overall trial optimization. This training includes not only protocol best practices but also educating sites on the technologies available to them. While not every sponsor team has the resources for this method, the change in approach resulted in exceptional adoption across the client’s site network and is now an approach being considered by the first client who visited the booth to start the discussion.
Hands-on guidance can come in many different forms, and extra attention paid to the site experience can pay dividends. In addition to a global training team and expanded In-App-training capabilities, Greenphire has added to its own site-centric approach by recently building a team of in-country specialists. Providing boots on the ground to support different research markets around the world allows us to further develop relationships with the sites that use our technology, ultimately strengthening the feedback loop to improve our user experience.
Setting The Tone For 2023: Technology Advancement
Just by strolling the exhibit floor, it is clear that incorporating technology into clinical trials is a priority. However, while many of the sponsor organizations are utilizing advanced technologies for clinical data, they are still pouring significant resource hours into critical processes such as budget creation and benchmarking as well as global site payments.
With inflationary pressures rising, I anticipate that there could be a shift of focus towards more accurate Fair Market Value data to level set with stakeholders. Further, the disparate spreadsheet approach to manual site payments is starting to seem ancient in the face of emerging tools in other areas of clinical operations. Based on my booth conversations, smaller CROs and sponsors are realizing that they too can transform their business processes with scalable site payment automation and built-for-purpose budget creation and FMV tools.
The energy at SCOPE was inspiring and a fantastic way to set the tone of collaboration for 2023. I am looking forward to following the industry trends this year and regrouping at SCOPE in 2024.
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