Online trial investigator result meetings – what about the investigators’ feedback?

In recent years, there has been an increasing tendency for replacing in-person meetings with online meetings. This tendency was practically fully adopted overnight with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we now see that even investigator result meetings, with a strong tradition of taking place as face-to-face all-day meetings, have changed their format to online interaction.

Holding investigator result meetings online entails a lot of advantages as it eases the planning and logistical execution of the meetings – costs are reduced, no traveling, no accommodation. However, it also poses some challenges:

The challenges of online investigator result meetings
The challenges of holding investigator result meetings online

Traditionally, investigator result meetings typically make up all-day meetings dedicated to the pharmaceutical company’s presentation of the clinical trial outcomes as well as discussions of the results with the participating investigators and site staff.

When holding the result meetings online, the meeting duration is significantly limited – sometimes all the way down to just a couple of hours. Narrowing down the time to talk about the results means that the ability to discuss the clinical trial results in-depth with the investigators and site staff is neglected, and thus the meeting will be exclusively focused on the pharmaceutical company’s presentation of the trial outcomes. The interaction of audience and presenters is highly impacted in such a meeting format and the capturing of the site’s feedback is not prioritised. Thus, valuable information can be lost – as the clinical site staff sees and experience how it is to treat the patients and are able to compare with other treatments.

Overcome the risk of overlooking valuable feedback on your investigational drug
Capture feedback from investigators and site staff in your clinical trial

A simple way to overcome the risk of overlooking valuable feedback from the investigators and site staff in a clinical trial is to ensure that your clinical trial provides an opportunity to capture their feedback. This can be done by including investigator/site staff interviews as part of your clinical trial assessments.

Clinical site interviews are especially valuable as they allow the investigators and site staff to provide individual insights based on what they have seen and heard directly from the patients using the investigational drug. This input is especially valuable as investigators and site staff can combine their knowledge and their observations on how they see the drug works in patients. Additionally, based on their professional experience, they may also be able to elaborate on how they see the investigational drug works in comparison to existing approved therapies.

It is especially interesting to interview site staff right after they have had their last patient performing his/her last visit in the trial (LPLV). This will avoid recall issues and ensures that site staff feedback is collected as soon as possible after the last patient finishes trial participation, which is a valuable and timely advantage compared to collecting site feedback at the investigator´s result meeting (typically taking place 5-6 months after site LPLV).

Online investigator result meetings have come to stay – even after COVID-19. This will continue to hinder the site staff to provide valuable feedback to the pharmaceutical company on the investigational drug – unless a framework is added enabling the clinical sites to elaborate on their experiences with the investigational drug.

Would you like such a framework set up for your clinical trial? Ensuring structured feedback from the clinical site staff when they have the best memory of your investigational drug?

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