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How to Incorporate New Technology into Your Clinical Development Strategy

During a recent DIA webinar on reinventing the clinical trial, Laurie Halloran (President of the Halloran Consulting Group) and Irving Dark (Senior Vice President at Cytel) weighed in on a wide array of recent technological breakthroughs that life sciences companies can leverage to simplify clinical development. Their discussion ranged from simple techniques to cut down the 80,000 sheets of paper used for the average clinical trial (“Take it to the Cloud!”) to remote centralized monitoring techniques that make use of cutting-edge statistical innovations.

A natural question arose during Q&A: Given the number of new technologies available, where to begin?

For obvious reasons, the most effective development strategies are tailor-made for a firm’s particular needs. However, Laurie and Irving suggest the following steps might help many firms get started:

  1. Determine Critical Challenges: Each new technology is meant to solve a small set of challenges your company may potentially face. How critical are these challenges to improving your firm’s productivity? If you can determine a way to measure the urgency of overcoming each challenge, you can then begin to rank which technologies are the most pivotal for your firm.  
  2. Create a Case Study: It may not be sufficient to note that a new technology has the ability to improve communication or streamline monitoring processes. You should identify specific ways this technology will improve the practices that are already in place at your firm. If you are able to determine the precise role that a new technology will play in improving your company’s performance, you should feel confident investing in the new product.
  3. Differentiate between Scaling and Fixing: Technology can be used to improve working practices, but it is not meant to fix broken systems. As a simple example, consider the benefits of video chats in improving corporate communications. Video chats can overcome the shortfalls of unwieldy phone calls, and even diminish the stress of long flights. However, it cannot improve communication in an environment where employees are unaware of where to turn when certain problems arise, or have reason to think twice about approaching teammates and managers for help.       
  4. Keep Your Work Culture in Mind: Technology is only useful if your employees are willing to use it. If your employees find a new web application complex, or are committed to the old way of doing things, there is little benefit to investing in the new technology. Laurie suggests creating a small team to test new technologies, who can help determine how easy it is to adapt to them. Ideally this team should cut across different business units, and include members with different levels of technological know-how. In this sense, taking advantage of any 1-month or 3-month trial runs might be useful for your company.  

For More Information about the Halloran Consulting Group: Click Here

For More Information about Cytel Clinical Research Services: Click Here

For More Information about Cytel Consulting: Click Here

Related Items of Interest

7 Reasons to Add a Statistical Consultant to Your Team

You Own This! (A post on accountability in the life sciences industry by Laurie Halloran) 

Data Management and Biostatistics I: Improvements to Trial Quality

Data Management and Biostatistics II: Operational Benefits of Bundling

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