Last week, hundreds of clinical research professionals from cancer centers throughout the U.S. gathered in Chicago for the 11th annual AACI-CRI annual meeting. The conference theme was Strategies to Maximize Innovation to Advance Cancer Clinical Research. A key component of the conference, and AACI as a whole, is to bring together NCI-designated cancer centers and emerging centers to maximize their impact. Similar to Forte’s Onsemble customer community, AACI relies on the power of networking and collaboration to address some of the industry’s biggest challenges.
Over the span of three days, presenters from some of the most prestigious centers in the country shared their experiences and best practices on topics including streamlining study activation, solutions for clinical trial matching, strategies for enrolling a diverse patient population and more. Here are a few key takeaways from AACI-CRI, along with corresponding posters presented at the conference:
Streamlining Multi-Center Trial Management
Representatives from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and University of Texas Mays Cancer Center shared their experiences with CTO management of multi-site studies. They highlighted the importance of process and communication in maintaining efficient and consistent processes, creating workflows for multi-site IITs that closely mirror those of large pharmaceutical trials. Keeping PIs engaged in these studies was a key takeaway for both presenters. They promoted frequent, regular check-ins with PIs and study teams, regulatory staff and QA.
Another helpful tool was the creation of templates used to ensure tasks are consistently completed across all studies. These included checklists for site qualification, multi-site monitoring feasibility, open to accrual, study closure and more. Last, they addressed study activation timelines, a key focus put forth by the NCI. The presenters outlined how their centers tightened timelines by focusing on what processes can be done concurrently.
Building an Efficient, Compliant Electronic Consent Platform
Chosen by the AACI-CRI Steering Committee and CRI Education Committee as one of the top abstracts submitted in 2019, Joe Lengfellner from the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center outlined his team’s accomplishments creating a process to obtain and manage electronic patient consent.
MSKCC built an electronic platform to improve efficiency, compliance and overall patient experience throughout the consent process. The team created a web-based, browser-agnostic solution, enhancing quality and compliance in several key areas compared to their previous paper process. These include an increase in completion of required fields, a quicker, automated workflow to get the consent into MSKCC’s EMR system and a complete audit trail tracking each patient interaction within the system.
Improving Patient Recruitment Outcomes
Patient recruitment is a key challenge across all segments of the clinical research industry. At AACI-CRI, presenters and abstract/poster authors shared their perspectives on addressing the challenges of low-accruing multi-center trials and ensuring an adequate representation of diverse populations within their studies.
Presenters from the Mays Cancer Center at UT Health San Antonio, Hollings Cancer Center Medical College of South Carolina and University of Illinois Cancer Center all shared their perspectives on how to reach minority populations and why this outreach is so important. Their strategies included creating culturally-relevant and sensitive materials to promote trials, empowering patients through education and assessing the geographic/ethnic makeup of the community to meet the needs of underserved, at-risk populations.
In addition, representatives from the Indiana University Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center shared an abstract/poster addressing the disparity in patient accrual between institutional and industry studies.
Enhancing Financial Workflows
Another key focus area at the conference (and key functionality provided by our OnCore Enterprise Research System) is financial visibility and management of clinical trials. Throughout the conference, centers outlined how they use OnCore to centralize financial management, improve billing compliance and optimize financial workflows throughout their institutions.