CATEGORIES: Clinical trial; Study site, team, Virtual investigator meeting
The success of a clinical trial is largely dependent on the consistency of performance across all participating study sites. Although every site in a multicentre study will receive identical training and documentation, it can be difficult to understand the different ways in which information is assimilated and applied against a background of geographical, cultural and language differences. Often, these differences will only become apparent after the study has been active for a number of months, prompting the need for follow-up investigator meetings and clarification of specific operating procedures.
In the face-to-face environment, investigators (and potentially one additional member of their clinical team) from specific study sites are invited to a central location, or are visited directly by study support staff to address specific training needs. Such meetings are heavily reliant on the training of the investigator and their ability to accurately and effectively translate the relevant information to their site team, who were ultimately those directly implementing the protocol and interacting with the patients.
Investigator meetings that are convened ‘on-study’ are increasingly being conducted online, instead of face-to face. As such, the virtual environment provides greater opportunity for all relevant members of the site team to attend appropriate training and demonstrations. This is especially relevant to the virtual interactive (Vi) environment, in which multiple site teams can appear on camera, all individual site team members can actively participate in inter-site discussions and site team members can confer to participate in online activities. In addition, team members in specialist roles may be given opportunity for peer-to-peer learning and sharing of best practices.
Virtual investigator meetings provide the opportunity for teams to receive direct training, raise concerns or highlight challenges from a multidisciplinary perspective. Furthermore, virtual interactive techniques encourage active participation, which increases site engagement and motivation. In summary, by using virtual investigator meetings, a study management team can be assured that the correct members of the correct teams have been trained on the correct topics and that each site has had maximum participation in the process.