How to Prepare Your End Users for Clinical Research Software Success

Meghan Hosely
April 2nd, 2020

Implementing enterprise clinical research software, such as OnCore Enterprise CTMS, at your institution can be a great solution to build efficiencies in your clinical trial operations. However, it’s not enough to simply purchase a system for your organization; how you implement and use the system significantly influences the output. To gain a better understanding of your institution’s research operations, it’s important to input data into your system consistently. However, variable use of a system among end users can make it difficult to ensure system reports are accurate.

The success of clinical research software at your institution is highly dependent on your end users. User adoption and system training are critical to establishing reliable processes and effective use of a system across your entire enterprise. Here are six steps to help ensure your end users are using your clinical research software consistently and accurately:

1. Know your end users

When implementing a system, it’s important to know upfront who at your organization will use it. Create a plan early on in the implementation process by detailing who is required to use each part of the system. Identify groups of end users by the parts of the system they’ll use. This grouping allows you to cater training and messaging based on each group’s specific system use, as well as job-related challenges.

2. Mandate system use

If system use isn’t mandated to the appropriate individuals, organizations run the risk of inconsistent and inaccurate reporting. End users may simply not use the system, making it difficult to draw any conclusions from system reports. This inaccuracy creates downstream problems and ultimately reduces the return on investment you see from technology at your institution. Mandate the use of your research software for the individuals you identified in the previous step to reduce gaps in system use and promote greater operational insights.

Download your copy of the 2018 State of Technology in Clinical Research eBook to learn even more about the factors impacting the success of technology at research organizations.

3. Identify the benefits

To end users, clinical research software can quickly gain a negative reputation as just another system to log into and enter data. This negative perception can be detrimental to user adoption and might discourage them from logging into the system. To combat this, identify the challenges your technology addresses and communicate them to end users. Encourage system use and increase enthusiasm for training by showing end users how using the system benefits them in the short and long term.

4. Follow a communication plan

Ongoing communication with end users before and following system implementation can markedly improve their perception and use of a system. Build a communication plan identifying the necessary messages to communicate with end users throughout the adoption process. Messages could include promoting a culture of positivity, communicating the benefit or outlining organizational goals for system use. It’s often effective to reinforce these messages through existing communication channels, such as recurring meetings, listservs and forums.

5. Communicate from the top

It’s also important to relay a consistent message from all levels of your organization. Executives, vice presidents and other upper management can convey a powerful message about the importance of using your research software. Communication from multiple levels of your organization reveals institution-wide commitment to system use and can make end users feel they are a part of a larger mission to build greater efficiencies.

Because enterprise-level software benefits many parts of an organization, it’s also helpful to gain input and support from cross-functional teams. This input ensures your organizational message resonates and influences all areas, giving each team a voice throughout the adoption process.

6. Enforce system requirements

After communicating how and why end users should adopt your system, it’s essential to follow-up with them to confirm they are using the system correctly. This is another area where communication is crucial. Designate an ‘owner’ or ‘task force’ responsible for driving system usage and enforcing requirements. This group or individual should talk with end users both individually and in groups to identify areas in need of improvement as well as celebrate efficient use of the system. It’s possible end users who aren’t in compliance may require retraining.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on May 4, 2017.

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