Fostering Collaboration to Improve Clinical Research at the 26th Onsemble Conference

Mel Johnson
Vice President of Marketing, Forte
September 20th, 2018

It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through the 26th biannual Onsemble Conference. At this year’s fall event, I’m once again impressed by the level of dedication and collaboration among our attendees. A special part of our conference is the collaborative spirit and family reunion atmosphere; as Shree says, this gathering is truly more like a homecoming than a conference. The Onsemble Community is so unique in the sense that we are all willing to work together to move closer and closer to our ultimate goal—improving clinical research. The Onsemble Conference sparks a lot of the conversations necessary to move forward. 

2018 Fall Onsemble Wednesday 3
Photo: Shanna Wolf – S. Photography

The Importance of Sponsor-funded Investigator-Initiated Trials

As the clinical trial landscape continues to change, the community must adapt to deliver what’s most impactful for patients. In recent years, that includes focusing on Investigator-Initiated Trials (IITs). Over time, the value of IITs for an institution have increased because they are highly regarded by the NIH and NCI, they contribute to the experience of an investigator, and ultimately, they are focused on innovation and impacting patients. To help fund these trials, the concept of Sponsor-funded IITs has surfaced, where institutions and sponsors collaborate to support these innovative research ideas. 

To learn more about the impact, challenges and future of Sponsored IITs, we brought together a panel of professionals from institutions and sponsors. Dr. James Thomas, Interim Associate Director and Translational Research Medical Director at the Clinical Trials Office of the Medical College of Wisconsin and Dr. Howard Bailey, Director and Professor of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center represented the institution perspective; Cyndi Burkhardt, Executive Director at Hoosier Cancer Research Network represented the CRO perspective and Jeremy Keeton, Oncology IIT Project Management at Eli Lilly and Company represented the sponsor perspective. Each of the panelists shared their challenges, the vision, and what needs to happen to advance the Sponsored IIT collaborations.

2018 Fall Onsemble Wednesday 1
From left to right: Dr. James Thomas, Dr. Howard Bailey, Cyndi Burkhardt, Jeremy Keeton and Shree Kalluri; Photo: Shanna Wolf – S. Photography

Paving the Way in Seamless Data Exchange for Clinical Research

Delayed data entry and data quality is still a hurdle that a lot of institutions encounter. Earlier this year, Shree announced the vision for DIRECT, an initiative to make seamless data exchange a reality for the research industry. To make progress on this initiative, we established the DIRECT Consortium with four trailblazers – Tesheia Johnson, Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer of YCCI and the Associate Director for Clinical Research at the Yale School of Medicine, Denise Snyder, Associate Dean for Clinical Research at Duke University School of Medicine, Mathew Innes, Administrative Director of the Clinical Research University of Michigan Rogel Cancer Center, and Nick Fisher, Executive Director of Research & Business Administration at the Siteman Cancer Center. During this year’s Onsemble Conference, Shree hosted an engaging panel where Consortium members talked about the importance and challenges in relation to data exchange and how we can improve clinical research operations.

“One thing about Forte is it’s really easy to dream big. They dream big with us… With Forte, I think we have true potential to move at a much faster pace” said Johnson.

2018 Fall Onsemble Wednesday 2
From left to right: Tesheia Johnson, Nick Fisher, Denise Snyder, Mathew Innes and Shree Kalluri; Photo: Shanna Wolf – S. Photography

Breakthrough Efficiencies by Adopting Innovations

As a solutions company, we spend our time working collaboratively with customers to create the innovations that solve the pressing clinical research challenges of our time. But, we know you can’t streamline your breakthrough efficiencies in process and experience unless these innovations are adopted and used at the appropriate levels. Our mission is to help create centers of excellence and Shree shared several areas of focus during the keynote that will help institutions accelerate these goals.

Showcase Your Research ROI

At the conference, we demonstrated the newest feature of Forte EVAL, Member Scenarios, which streamlines the extremely burdensome process of managing program membership. Member Scenarios leverages investigator, grant and publication data to instantly calculate the effects of moving investigators between programs. A process that could previously take days or weeks can now be done in a matter of minutes. 

Take Control of your Regulatory Process

The new Master Delegation of Authority for Forte eReg is also a game-changer and will not just move information from paper to electronic, but remove time spent collecting signatures for staff on study specific logs. A process that was prone to quality assurance issues can now be standardized to ensure proper delegation and target reducing compliance issues.

Expedite Study Activation

We also celebrated our 11,000th protocol calendar created, with 100% on-time delivery for our customers. We continue to evolve this service to meet the needs of our customers to help reduce the administration burden with study activation. Based on customer feedback, we now offer institution-specific guidelines to ensure calendar builds are aligned with your organization’s nuances.

Make Strategic Decisions

During the Forte product keynote, we also unveiled new Forte Insights dashboards: a new Accrual vs. Center Population dashboard to help NCI-designated cancer centers demonstrate recruitment, and sponsor invoicing visualizations highlighting payments received, outstanding balances and invoice aging by sponsor to provide institution-wide insights into your financials. 

Ensure a Secure Foundation for Your Technology

We are entering a new era where health care and medical technology is moving to company-hosted managed infrastructure instead of on-premises. With all of the value that managed infrastructure delivers, Forte is now offering all products exclusively on Forte Managed Infrastructure.

Over the past couple of days, it’s obvious that we’ve made a lot of progress, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. We’re grateful to the community for collaboratively coming together to tackle the toughest challenges in clinical research so we can have the greatest impact where it matters most – the patients.  

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