How Staff Augmentation Services Helps Centralize Site Services

Jill McKinley
Implementation Support Lead II, Forte
August 4th, 2020

When you work for a company that values collaboration, it puts you in a position to wear many different hats and provide a wealth of unique experiences. For 12 years I have helped Advarra/Forte customers with support, training, and advice, allowing me to speak frequently about technology adoption and best practices. Staff augmentation gives me the opportunity to take those experiences and put them in action, empowering our customers to make big changes.

During a recent project, I worked with a customer site on a financials roll-out, which included centralizing financial services. I worked with a team of intelligent, motivated, and dedicated staff determined to help their research teams find new cures while keeping trials financially successful.

Walking Through the Steps

Our first step was to accelerate the billing grid integration between their OnCore Enterprise Research System and their Epic electronic medical record (EMR). Since they were in the middle of an implementation, I worked with the team to rebuild their charge master. This helped minimize the risk of double billing errors and streamlined the overall process to reduce billing holds. These early steps gave me the opportunity clear up any confusions surrounding the charge master. When the connection to Epic went live, our customer viewed the project as a success.

While on site, I also noticed there were very few documented processes, and offered a Workflow Workshop to key stakeholders. The workshop is designed to evaluate the current state of processes in place and work to establish best practices in the organization. Hosting this workshop brought stakeholders together to analyze each process from beginning to end. We walked through processes involving protocols, budgets, and subjects. By the end of the workshop, everyone understood each process and the roles involved.

The next phase came with writing and updating current manuals and process documents to help staff understand OnCore best practices. My experience with the system enabled me to capture key workflows, and I helped create functional documents for each staff role, including updated software information, process details, and tip sheets.

After the manuals and process documents were updated, I then provided training and working sessions for the finance teams. Since the study team used OnCore and already understood the subject workflow, I tailored the training to focus solely on the financial workflows that were a priority for the customer. Each training included a demonstration of the financial workflow, the purpose behind it, and why it was necessary to implement. Additionally, I trained study teams in centralized sessions, helping teams move away from visit spreadsheets to documenting actual visit data in OnCore. We shared best practices and tips for making the requirements easier to follow with OnCore’s time-saving features. In the end, it was great to see these features work as expected in reducing staff time.

Next, we worked on adoption, an important (but often forgotten) step to all software roll-outs. We focused on in-person team visits, and found the benefits greatly outweighed the travel time. Face-to-face time with those who will use the system is invaluable, providing an ideal setting to address concerns and resistance to change. During adoption, there were a few skeptics and many great questions. Team leadership talked about the purpose and the importance of these changes, which go a long way to build trust and acceptance. There were also large group sessions with all research teams, giving us another great opportunity to reach people with information, process details, and expectations.

Finally, we went live with real trials and budgets. The start of a new project is a great time to demonstrate how this process works and to build even more trust through action. Our goal is to make a quality, consistent presentation to each study team and prove these workflow processes work. I also assisted with creating initial study calendars and budgets, and gave the budget team a checklist to QA, ensuring they worked properly. My last step was giving the team a list of future projects to consider once they were comfortable with the new workflows.

Through this process, we learned staff augmentation can help in many ways. Through the experience and best practices I brought to the customer team, we were able to optimize their use of OnCore, maximize the efficiency of study startup and financial processes, and put them on a path to success.

Forte Staff Augmentation Services allows your organization to meet staffing needs, setting your team up for long-term success.

Learn more about Forte Staff Augmentation