The clinical research industry made great progress in 2022, and it’s clear that the clinical trial industry is ready and willing to continue on this new, collaborative, and growth-filled journey in 2023. Collaboration and diversity have been key themes at conferences this year, and clinical research sites and patients are finally in the spotlight. This shift from sponsor-led directives to site enablement practices is long overdue and highly anticipated.
Improving workflows and reducing site burdens
Despite having fewer unique sponsors and investigators on the scene, and for the first time ever, more studies closing than opening, the industry continues to experience a substantial capacity gap, leaving site staff struggling to keep up with the volume and complexity of today’s clinical trials.
Sponsors and CROs (contract research organizations) are increasingly aware of the negative impacts to studies when trial sites are overwhelmed. As a result, more and more sponsors, CROs, and vendors are attempting to bridge this capacity gap by improving workflows and reducing site burdens in any way they can.
Collaborative efforts will be necessary to meet the increasing demand on trial sites, one that has most recently been spurred by efforts such as precision medicine, trial complexity, and invaluable DEI initiatives. This is especially pressing during a period defined by staffing shortages and an overabundance of redundant technology, portals, and log-ins.
So, what does this mean for 2023? It means growth and site enablement!
Clinical research sites shoulder much of the industry’s burden, as well as the responsibility for study success, even though sponsors get credit for those efforts.
In 2023, we will see more growth in sponsor–site relationships than we’ve ever experienced before. Conversations about protocol design, workflows, data review, budgets, patient burden, and technology will become the norm between sponsors, CROs, and sites as we move forward. Essentially, sponsors and CROs will collaborate with their sites, work with them to improve study conduct, and meet them where they are whenever possible.
Site-focused technology will take the spotlight as more and more stakeholders understand the benefits of empowering sites to do their best work. Vendors will need to open their systems to integrations with external technology, collaborating with competitors rather than forcing integrations to remain within their own services or products.
Those who do not pivot and prioritize patients and medical advancement over company profits should expect a significant loss in the marketplace. We can all work together to bring new therapies to patients faster, without financial detriment to vendors or operational detriment to sites, sponsors, and CROs.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the clinical research industry and I look forward to 2023—the year of site enablement!