The Resilience of the UK Clinical Research Sites
Insights from the 2022 UK CRF Conference
Prior to working with Greenphire, I had many years of experience working at US-based institutions – namely in academia and with the VA. However, given that Greenphire is a technology solution provider which works with clinical researchers around the globe, I have spent a significant amount of time developing relationships and creating best practices for global participant payment process innovation, including in the UK.
Recently I was able to attend the 2022 UK Clinical Research Facilities (CRFs) Conference in Bournemouth, UK. This conference promotes the UK as the place for broader investment in and economic growth from health research. Below you’ll find observations and insights from the event:
- Collaboration – For many, this was the first face-to-face meeting with colleagues since the onset of the pandemic. Yet, there was genuine spirit of fellowship, comradery, and collaboration among UK CRF colleagues. The enthusiasm was inspiring!
- Achievements – During the kickoff keynote, UK CRF leaders described how several CRFs “pulled together” during the pandemic to work on the Oxford University Covid Vaccine Trial and how 15 CRFs continue to work together as part of the NIHR National Vaccine Network using agile trial design methodology.
- Pharmaceutical Partnerships – Partnerships were discussed including a new collaboration between the UK CRFs and Astra Zeneca for early phase trials across multiple disease areas.
- Resilience – A clear takeaway was a sense of “resilience.” The commitment of the UK clinical researchers throughout the pandemic was obvious. There was now a clear strategic vision regarding how the UK CRFs would leverage innovative trial management adaptations and efficiencies that were developed out of necessity during the pandemic. In many operational areas, it would no longer be business as usual.
To continue that spirit of innovation, the conference offered numerous breakout sessions centered on activities related to:
- Achieving Operational Excellence
- Accelerating Clinical Trials
- Workforce Development
- Public and Patient Involvement and Engagement (PPIE)
Greenphire sits centrally amongst these themes which are driving clinical research ahead. We recently conducted a market research survey to validate the pain points experienced by global site staff. They clearly said that though their clinical study volume is largely back to pre- pandemic levels, they are struggling to hire and retain employees. In order to sustain research operations, sites need to fully leverage tools which can make their time more productive.
For example, we had numerous discussions with UK CRF colleagues regarding how the ClinCard site-direct model and its reloadable debit card platform could support and align with the themes, especially achieving operational excellence and supporting PPIE through participant payment efficiency, specifically, introducing a new Best Practice for automating payments to Patients and Public Involvement and Engagement (PPIE) members and to clinical trial participants.
We look forward to working with the UK community to further discuss the benefits of the ClinCard adoption model utilized by hundreds of US academic medical centers, universities and hospitals. These are exciting days for clinical research and at Greenphire, we look forward partnerships with our UK CRF research colleagues.
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