COVID-19 has upended many things, and the clinical research realm has hardly been immune to the impact. Many trials have been postponed, and research conferences have been canceled or gone virtual.
All of this has left many clinical trial sponsors with a budget surplus. If you’re looking for a few ways to spend this extra money before the end of the fiscal year, here are a few suggestions.
7 Clinical Trial Budget Surplus Ideas
Clinical Research Training For Your Team
In normal times, it can be hard to find the time or justify the budget for clinical research training.
If your team is experiencing downtime, it’s the perfect time to invest in remote clinical research training to refresh everyone on the fundamentals and expand their skills.
The FDA has introduced new guidance for conducting trials remotely, obtaining informed consent electronically, and for reviewing and submitting data. It’s important to make sure everyone is up to date on the latest best practices, especially if you are planning a remote clinical trial.
IMARC offers a full catalog of clinical research training courses your team can take as a group or on their own time.
We offer training packages for every role, including monitors, research coordinators, investigators, project managers, auditors, IRB staff, and sponsors.
We can also develop customized training courses to support your team’s specific needs. Watch this short video to learn more.
Virtual Clinical Research Conferences
In-person conferences aren’t likely to return for the first part of the year, but some are still planned for spring, summer and fall. Here are just a few clinical research conferences on deck for 2021:
- BIOSTEC 2021 is a virtual conference streaming Feb. 11-13
- DeviceTalks Minnesota has been rescheduled with a date to be determined
- The BIOMEDevice conference is scheduled to take place May 5-6 in Boston
- The Gene and Cell Therapy conference is scheduled for May 19-21 in Boston
- The MD&M West is planned for Aug. 10-12 in Anaheim, Calif.
- DeviceTalks, hosted by MassDevice, is hosting conferences in Boston, Minnesota, and California in addition to hosting a virtual series
One thing to consider is that this may be the perfect time to attend conferences that would have been out of reach due to cost or travel time — including some spring conferences in Europe that are likely to take place online. BIOSTEC 2021, normally hosted in Vienna, Austria, is just one example.
Webinars offer another great professional development opportunity. The Association of Clinical Research Professionals has hosted some free webinars.
MassDevice hosts a series of webinars called DeviceTalks Tuesdays. These days, it’s easy to find webinars on a wide variety of topics. Attending them gives your team access to global experts with diverse perspectives, which can introduce you to new ways of thinking.
As clinical research teams become more distributed, remote audits have become more important. If you have not considered remote auditing, now is the time to do it.
With traditional audits, you have to have the auditing team on site for an extended period of time, disrupting normal activities and incurring substantial costs. Generally, you have to pay travel expenses for two or three auditors. With a remote audit, the auditors can review your documents on their own time and then follow up with your team at times that are convenient for everyone.
This improves compliance and helps you identify training opportunities. You can do all kinds of audits remotely, including GCP audits, CRO audits, and trial master file (TMF) audits.
Even after the pandemic, remote auditing may be more cost-effective in some circumstances. Just keep in mind that they tend to work best for experienced teams who need less hands-on guidance.
Improved Data Management
The pandemic has brought the importance of good data management practices to the forefront. Teams that lacked a good electronic data capture system struggled to keep up with the demands of remote data entry, monitoring, and auditing.
If your team does not have a secure way to share files or manage your trial data remotely, IMARC can help you choose the right platform and set it up. We can also assist with every aspect of data management, from data analysis to database locking.
Equipment to Virtualize Trial Activities
Not all clinical trials can be conducted remotely, but many companies are considering expanding their remote research activities, particularly for low-risk trials.
You may or may not have the software or hardware to do this, but these systems are a good investment for the future. For instance, you could use telemedicine platforms to handle physician consultations, especially during established trials. Providing patients with wearable devices allows you to obtain data without the need for in-person visits.
You should also consider secure drop-shipping for medications and devices. One advantage of virtual trials is you can increase the geographic parameters of enrollment, which can help you recruit patients faster.
In the US, 70% of potential clinical trial participants lived more than two hours away from the nearest study center, according to Deloitte. The right technology expands opportunities for more people to participate.
Care Packages For Team Members
Your clinical research team has worked hard to adapt to many new challenges this past year. In many cases, they’ve also done this without the in-person support of their team members and while caring for their children and family members. Some may have been personally impacted by COVID-19 by becoming ill or losing a loved one. This is a good time to show your appreciation for all they’ve done.
Looking Ahead To A New Year
Over the past year, we’ve seen so many of our fellow clinical researchers step up in tremendous ways. We’ve seen medical device manufacturers find new, creative ways to make ventilators and essential personal protective equipment. We’ve seen pharmaceutical companies conduct vaccine trials with unprecedented urgency. And we’ve seen the FDA issue emergency use authorizations for both devices and vaccines that typically would have taken years for approval.
Although we’ve all faced many challenges, the importance of clinical research has been put into the global spotlight.
Our team supported researchers with both on-site and remote monitoring, auditing, training, and data management long before the pandemic. We look forward to being an integral part of your trials in the future, whether we assist with one specific part or manage the entire project.
Learn more about how we help your trial stay on track and on budget in the coming year.