Successful clinical research organizations realize the importance of integrating their clinical trial management systems (CTMS) and electronic medical record (EMR) systems. Operational efficiency, compliance and patient safety are all key areas that can be improved with integrated systems. However, some organizations may not fully understand what aspects of patient care and clinical research should be managed in each system. While EMR vendors such as Epic and Cerner offer research-focused modules, there should be clear processes and boundaries in place to ensure each system is managing the correct data.
Patient focus vs. research focus
Simply put, your EMR system should focus on patient care, while your CTMS should manage your research. EMR research modules can provide visibility into a protocol as well as the subjects and internal staff associated with it. Since the modules are part of the EMR system, they can also help identify which patients are currently on-study. This can be vital information for a physician, or to an emergency department who may not be familiar with the patient. Knowing what trials a patient is participating in can help determine treatment and avoid adverse events. If your CTMS supports the Retrieve Process for Execution (RPE) profile, the subject status can also originate within the CTMS and automatically populate your EMR system.
Managing all your research in one place
When it comes to managing your operations, including the true lifecycle of a protocol, a CTMS provides unique functionality centered specifically around your research team. An enterprise research system like OnCore can help you manage a protocol well before it’s open to accrual, and provide meaningful insight into your study activation timelines, budgets, staff effort and other important aspects of your research. It allows you to manage committees, easily conduct audits and monitoring, ensure compliant billing and much more.
Another key benefit unique to a CTMS and not found in EMR research modules is the ability to streamline your research financials. In addition to budget negotiation, a CTMS provides easy processes for determining standard of care vs. research charges, initiating milestone-based payments, setting automated invoicing rules and more. By creating workflows that maximize the strengths of both the CTMS and EMR, research organizations can centralize their billing designations and dramatically reduce their billing holds and pre-accounts receivable charges. For large research organizations using this process, it’s not uncommon to reduce billing holds by millions of dollars.
Both a CTMS and EMR system are vital to large research institutions to manage patient care and research operations. While EMR research modules can provide a high-level glimpse into your research, a CTMS provides tools to address the broad spectrum of challenges you face throughout the life of the protocol.
Discover more about how Forte customers use OnCore-EMR integrations to move their clinical research programs forward. Download the case study.