5 Questions to Ask Before Selecting a Clinical Trial Management System

Kayla Fargo
Director, Services, Forte
November 8th, 2016

Purchasing and implementing a clinical trial management system (CTMS) is a big step for many research sites. When your organization is ready to invest in a CTMS, it’s important to approach the decision thoughtfully to ensure you’re picking the best system for your site. When evaluating CTMS alternatives, be sure to incorporate the following questions into your discussions with your staff and CTMS vendors:

1. Does the system satisfy my site’s top priorities for a CTMS?

Before you begin evaluating CTMS options, we recommend creating a list of your non-negotiables. What must a CTMS absolutely offer or enable your staff to do in order for you to purchase? It’s critical to know what your must-haves are upfront, so you don’t end up settling for a CTMS that doesn’t truly address the challenges you’re trying to solve.

For example, the ability to use a CTMS to easily pull comprehensive reports in real time – be they related to financials, recruitment or another operational area – is an absolute must for many research sites. If your organization finds a CTMS that offers great functionality and support, but doesn’t provide the reporting capabilities you’ve identified as a must-have, will you really be satisfied with your investment in the long-term?

2. Will my staff be able to easily incorporate the CTMS into their daily workflows?

A CTMS is only as valuable as the data it holds. If your staff finds the system cumbersome, adoption is going to be a challenge. As you evaluate CTMS alternatives, we recommend including end-users in the decision-making process. Make sure the system you select aligns with your staff’s current workflows before you decide to buy. Including end-users in the CTMS selection process upfront will reduce adoption headaches later.

3. What’s included in the CTMS cost?

Each CTMS you evaluate will offer slightly different functionality and, unsurprisingly, slightly different pricing models. For example, whereas some CTMS vendors charge per protocol, Allegro CTMS offers all-inclusive, per-user pricing, meaning the system evolves with your organization as you grow and add staff members to your team.

Additionally, each Allegro subscription includes one free calendar-build from Forte, plus instant access to Site Benchmarks, a clinical trial benchmarking platform that allows users to compare their operations with an anonymous aggregate of similar research organizations. Make sure you know exactly what’s included in the cost of each CTMS you evaluate, so you can accurately compare the costs of each system.

4. What training, tools and reference materials are available to me once my organization goes live?

User adoption is one of the most common challenges research sites face after purchasing a CTMS. It’s important to understand the level of support you can expect from your vendor after you go live and as you bring on additional system users. Will new users have access to on-demand training resources? Does the vendor expect current end-users at your organization to become experts and train new CTMS users?

In our experience, we’ve found a healthy mix of online reference materials and the ability to correspond with a live support team is best for promoting user adoption. In your discussions with CTMS vendors, be sure you ask what level of support you can anticipate if you become a customer.

5. Does the CTMS integrate with any other systems that can help streamline my organization’s operations?

Your organization may be looking to purchase a CTMS because you’re looking for ways to streamline operational processes. However, you may not have considered how a CTMS might integrate with other systems your site is already using.

For example, if your organization uses Microsoft Outlook for scheduling and managing email, choosing a system that integrates with Outlook might help your coordinators schedule visits more efficiently and document email correspondence more easily. Additionally, Allegro is one of few CTMS options that comes ready-to-integrate with an ePayments system, which makes the process of paying and reimbursing study subjects as easy as a few clicks. Understanding interface opportunities during the selection process can help you choose a CTMS that will enhance your organization’s operations long-term.

Is your organization ready to invest in a CTMS? Download this overview to learn more about Allegro, Forte’s easy-to-use, cloud-based, clinical trial management system.

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