A study’s schedule of events, or study calendar, acts as the backbone for every clinical trial. It instructs clinicians when to do what, informs the finance department what can be billed for and when, and centralizes communications across multiple teams within a research organization. Despite this, protocol documents frequently make it extremely difficult to interpret the schedule of events associated with a study.
Many organizations to have trained staff who can take protocol documents and translate them into a useful, well-defined calendar. Having a calendar in a CTMS, such as Forte’s OnCore Enterprise Research System, is a key part of the study activation process, and drives nearly all aspects of the study within the system.
As organizations increasingly focus on reducing study activation timelines, they are discovering that calendar building processes can dramatically affect whether or not a study stays on schedule. If your institution is struggling with calendars, here are some tips for ensuring timeliness and accuracy:
Use a Dedicated Team
Some organizations, either by necessity or by choice, use existing staff to define study calendars. Building out a calendar, regardless of whether you’re using a CTMS, is a specific skillset. Keeping calendar build on the shoulders of a dedicated team reduces risk by ensuring quality calendars and keeping your study activation on track.
Keep Your Team up to Date
If your organization builds calendars within a CTMS, it’s important to keep your dedicated calendar builders up to speed on new system functionality. New features can affect calendar build strategies, and it’s important for your calendars team to know how studies are conducted day in and day out in the system.
Develop a Contingency Plan
Regardless of your best-made plans, the number and complexity of studies your organization tries to open in any given month will vary. Knowing how you will address an influx is important to ensure calendar build doesn’t become the bottleneck in your process.
Use Your Resources Wisely
As mentioned above, some organizations choose to assign calendar building to existing clinical trial staff. As those resources are stretched thinner and thinner, calendar builds (and your entire study activation process) can suffer. It’s important to make sure you’re utilizing your staff properly, especially those that are better suited to perform higher-value tasks at your organization.
Don’t be Afraid to Reevaluate
You’ve secured calendar building resources and created a strategic, well-defined process for calendar builds. But your work isn’t done yet! You should constantly be analyzing your process to ensure that you’re utilizing your staff to the fullest, evaluating your study activation timelines to identify processes that can run in parallel and soliciting feedback from your calendar builders and clinical trial staff to ensure that your process is working for all stakeholders.
If your organization is struggling with calendar building, Forte can help! Forte’s Calendars service can serve as your dedicated team for building OnCore calendars. With over 12,000 calendars built and 100% on-time delivery, we can help keep your study timelines on track. If you already have dedicated calendar resources, our team can step in when needed to address calendar backlogs.