When preparing for a clinical trial, you may be considering the number of investigative sites that will be needed for a successful study outcome. Will it be 5, 10, 20, or more? You may also be asking how to best locate and secure the appropriate site services you will need.
One approach is to reach out to individual, independently-operated investigative sites one-by-one until your quota is met. Another approach is to confer with a site network that has one point of contact and the capacity to fill the trial's entire requirements. Before you make a decision as to which route is best for your trial, it's important to understand the differences between these two options and which option offers the greatest advantages for your particular study.
We polled our Research Network customers and staff, and here's what they said are the biggest differences and advantages of working with a site network versus individual, independently-operated sites:
Because clinical trials can last years, and span multiple sites and countries, it's important to have continuity, especially in the areas of data collection, staffing, and SOPs. Site networks often have the financial backing of large organizations which provide financial stability as well as extensive resources to ensure uninterrupted service throughout the course of a trial. The Bioclinica Research Network has such support and has been running clinical trials since 1992 – nearly 25 years.
Suppose your clinical trial requires 15 investigative sites. Going the independent site route means 15 different negotiations, contracts, budgets, and providers to manage. As the trial unfolds, there are 15 operations centers and 15 project managers to maintain lines of communication with. Such coordination is complex and time-consuming, and becomes even more so when conducting a trial on a global scale. A research site network offers a unified, holistic and simplified approach, easing overall management with a single contract, contact, and operations group. Additionally, communication is streamlined, allowing your team's attention to be focused on areas of greater importance – such as patient volunteers and trial data.
In addition to providing simplicity, a site network delivers efficiency and savings through centralized management and processes, compared to contracting with multiple independent sites. This reduces the resources needed to communicate your needs and oversee the trial. Centralized processes drive efficiency and improve productivity through a consistent approach across the spectrum of investigative sites.
Unlike individual sites where SOPs and quality controls can vary from site to site, in a research network, standardization is the backbone. Uniform training is conducted across the board. SOPs are established, vetted, and monitored. Bioclinica strives to meet and uphold all compliance standards. You are assured that the trial will be conducted and the data collected in the same way at every site throughout the duration of the trial. Standardization enables clean, high-quality data.
5. Expert People
Another advantage of a site network is the breadth and depth of expertise that can be leveraged. Whereas an independent site has a limited budget for specialists, a site network is able to make an investment in key opinion leaders (KOLs), research professionals, project managers, and outbound patient marketing that can engage additional therapeutic experts. All these specialists are readily available to bring their expertise to bear to help ensure the success of your clinical trial.
6. Site Scale
If your clinical trial requires investigative sites in a certain geographic location or on multiple continents (e.g., in order to reach a certain patient population, or to follow the progress of a seasonal illness such as the flu), finding appropriate sites can be time-consuming and problematic. But with a research site network that already has a global spread, such problems don't exist. You simply contact the central management team of the research site network, and the team will recommend the best solution for your trial's needs.
There is a seventh advantage that is rarely offered by site networks, but which, when it is available, can greatly enhance the speed of your clinical trial: patient recruitment. The Bioclinica Research Network, for example, has databases and online communities composed of more than one million potential patients in a wide range of therapeutic areas. We are therefore able to not only fulfill your site quota and run your trial effectively, but also fill your patient pipeline quickly, saving you both time and money.
How many sites will you need for your next clinical trial? When you choose a research site network, the number is not an issue. With one call, you can take advantage of the stability, simplicity, savings, standardization, specialists, scale, and speed you need to achieve success in your clinical trial.