CATEGORIES: Virtual investigator meeting; Virtual interactive investigator meeting; Innovation; Quality
Recently, technology advances have significantly enhanced the quality of virtual investigator meetings to the extent that clinical teams can now benefit from improved site training, investigator motivation and problem solving of site-related issues.
Many clinical teams resort to running virtual investigator meetings to convene their study teams when face-to-face investigator meetings are deemed too expensive. However, just how effective are these?
Typically, WebEx is the technology of choice and sites dial in to watch a few slides in a didactic flat presentation. There is usually little understanding of the level of participant engagement or whether the key points are actually being understood. Very often there is audibly a low amount of participation and the sponsor may be unsure if the site is still actually watching. The energy and motivation level seems to wane as the meeting draws on.
This is particularly frustrating for the sponsor as there are key points to discuss, such as improving the recruitment rate, addressing site issues or sharing best practice.
So, a key flaw in the WebEx virtual investigator meeting is the lack of engagement and motivation of participants. The new virtual interactive (Vi) investigator meeting addresses this by adding a new dimension. By bringing sites together on camera and continually maintaining their attention through a moderated event comprising varied interactions, participants can be fully engaged for the entire duration of the meeting.
The process and technology facilitates cross-fertilisation of ideas and the interactivity can also be used to train sites simultaneously. Crucially, the sponsor can derive greater comfort from knowing that there has been an effective dialogue with each site and that key points have been understood, and (more importantly) are shown to have been understood.
The virtual interactive approach has been used extensively in the pharmaceutical industry to run advisory boards with therapeutic experts. Its application in the virtual investigator meeting setting will radically change the way sponsors communicate with their sites in a multicentre study.
Sites that have taken part in virtual interactive investigator meetings have reported high levels of enjoyment and also pointed out a further advantage. Usually investigator meetings are attended by just the primary investigator; however, the virtual interactive investigator meeting enables the whole site team to participate and be on camera. This inevitably facilitates a more direct dialogue between the sponsor and the site team.
Virtual interactive investigator meetings will inevitably improve the quality of sponsor-to-study site training and communications.