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  • Writer's pictureFutureMeds

Why Autonomous Research Sites Drive Better Trial Performance?

FutureMeds executive team has embraced the philosophy of protecting the sites' autonomy, and the results are more than promising. Join us as we explore the seven key ways that site autonomy caters to strong patient and healthcare provider relationships and improved trial performance.

Site autonomy is a cornerstone of how FutureMeds approaches clinical trials. With the right amount of centralised support such as IT, HR, and feasibility, it empowers our site teams and helps them be in their best element.

Site autonomy has a meaningful impact on patient experience as well. Due to pressures in the industry, short-term recruitment solutions can undermine the perception of clinical research. Autonomous sites are more likely to develop lasting relationships with their local Health Care Providers and patient communities.

The involvement of local healthcare providers in clinical trials and regular communication with patients help address misconceptions about participating in trials and can increase trial awareness and engagement.

“The key difference I see at FutureMeds is that they give site teams autonomy to make their own decisions. Other businesses in our industry have suffered from being very dictatorial.”

- Craig McCallum - General Manager at CPS Research by FutureMeds

Below, you will find 7 points why FutureMeds advocates site autonomy within the site network:

1. Faster Decision Making Based on the executive leadership and the board’s experience, safeguarding the teams' agility to make time-sensitive decisions is crucial for success. Autonomous teams are in a position to make decisions quickly based on their local circumstances and situations without waiting for approvals from a central authority. This also benefits the clients as they can receive relevant information on time and have tighter communication loops.

“Given that we are autonomous and have the back office support of a major business, we are better equipped to deal with the day-to-day activities of recruiting patients, caring for them throughout the study and building fruitful and longstanding relationships with partners throughout our region.”

- Anna Townsend-Rose, Site Director North Tees

2. Increased Motivation, Morale and Team Dynamics

FutureMeds site directors and teams reported that autonomy and feeling empowered increases job satisfaction and commitment and boosts teamwork, problem-solving and performance. When individuals feel they have a say in their work environment and methods, and those are valued and considered, they are more likely to be engaged in the site and the given trial’s success.

On top of this, autonomy allows sites to address their unique risks and challenges through the development of risk management strategies that are specific to the local context rather than a one-size-fits-all approach that might not be effective everywhere.

“Having autonomy enables us to have more responsibility, trust, and ownership. This is crucial because it allows us to demonstrate our capabilities and deliver our best work when we are in charge of making decisions. We take pride in the responsibility we have and understand the importance of making the right decisions for our site.”

- Dr Khaled Ahmed, Site Director at FutureMeds Birmingham

3. Better Adaptation to Local Conditions

Outside of large big-data and global tech companies, a few can stay perfectly in sync with up-to-date local conditions. Teams on the ground have a better, deeper understanding of local patient populations, trends, available resources, healthcare practices, cultural nuances, conditions and context.

This knowledge can be helpful in adapting the study protocols in ways that are more culturally sensitive and appropriate, boosting the effectiveness of trial delivery and improving the quality and relevance of data collected.

4. Encouragement of Solution-Oriented Approach

Multi-disciplinary teams have a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Not tapping into it is a waste of potential and, in most cases, a costly oversight. When team members feel empowered and involved, they are more likely to think creatively and offer unique solutions to challenges, enhancing the overall effectiveness of the team and the quality of research.

“By empowering sites and involving each staff member in the decision-making process, a coherent and comprehensive platform is created for everyone to work on.”

- Dr Khaled Ahmed, Site Director at FutureMeds Birmingham

5. Responsiveness to Changing Conditions

Trials often face unforeseen challenges and changes. Autonomous teams can respond and adapt more quickly to these changes, whether they're related to patient needs, protocol design, IMP logistical problems, regulatory delays, or enhancing the trial’s effectiveness and efficiency.

This is especially important in clinical trials, where patient demographics, comorbidities, and other factors can significantly vary.

6. Accountability and Ownership

When teams have more control over their work, they often exhibit greater accountability and a sense of ownership over the outcomes. This can lead to increased dedication, higher quality work and better trial results. Increased ownership leads to additional benefits, such as enhanced credibility and trust. when research teams demonstrate strong accountability, it builds trust with participants, regulatory bodies, and clients. This credibility is vital for the continuation of future research endeavours.

“As an experienced Site Director within the clinical trials arena, I take site autonomy particularly seriously and firmly believe that this ‘ownership’ of my site benefits patients as well as colleagues.”

- Anna Townsend-Rose, Site Director North Tees

7. Strong Relationship with HCPs and patients

Autonomous sites that are embedded in the community don’t take trust and credibility lightly. They aim to build strong relationships with healthcare providers, communities and patient populations. Through their activities, they can develop more effective patient care and recruitment strategies tailored to their specific population and study without risking patient relationships. This can lead to better patient engagement, retention, and overall satisfaction with the clinical trial process.

“Site autonomy not only builds confidence but also creates a sense of belonging within the site. It also helps foster strong relationships between vendors, GP consortiums and community outreach teams, where sites can quickly make decisions that are fit for purpose, thus reducing delays.”

- Dr Khaled Ahmed, Site Director at FutureMeds Birmingham

Unlocking the potential of clinical trial sites isn't just about providing resources and controlling their every move; it's about granting them the autonomy to act on local realities.

FutureMeds has embraced this philosophy, and the results are more than promising. While centralised processes and procedures can aid trial sites, protecting their autonomy and empowering teams through support often leads to improved performance, faster decision-making, enhanced motivation, better adaptation to local conditions, and increased innovation and problem-solving capabilities.

About FutureMeds

FutureMeds is the 1st European Independent Dedicated DCT Site Network, offering high traditional trial and DCT readiness across the whole network and home nursing solutions in 18 countries.

FutureMeds’ Dedicated Research Site teams strive to accelerate study timelines, streamline processes, lower costs and improve data quality to help speed up drug development and patient access to new treatments.

Through acquisitions and a strategic focus on patient experience, FutureMeds has developed large, qualified patient pools across Europe that enable faster patient enrolment, stronger retention and more accurate results.

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