How the Pandemic Has Impacted Clinical Research Sites with WCG’s Sandy Smith and Senior Advisor Linda Sullivan
What are the most important lessons learned by clinical research sites from having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic the last two years, and what are the challenges these sites face going forward?. That’s the key topic explored during Senior Advisor Linda Sullivan’s interview with Sandy Smith, Senior Vice President, Clinical Solutions and Strategic Partnerships for WCG. Smith, who has spent her career partnering with physicians and other healthcare stakeholders to drive customer value and clinical excellence in patient-centric oncology services, discusses how the lockdown affected clinical research site operations, and what enabled certain sites to pivot more easily. Smith discusses how telehealth and remote monitoring took off, hospitals functioned with insufficient staff, and the Great Resignation occurred. What that meant, she says, was that fewer personnel and resources were available to health care organizations and clinical sites. Smith also talks about where clinical sites are today in terms of trial backlogs, a recent uptick in new starts in March, still existing staffing shortages and the need for additional training for less experienced investigators, and how sites can be better supported. Finally, Smith talks about the advantages of adopting a hybrid, decentralized clinical trial model — a combination of onsite and virtual participant visits — that enables sites to enroll patients who don’t live near clinical sites. Clinical sites are looking at how to get the work done most effectively, such as partnering with outside organizations to do budgets and/or utilizing remote staffers and deploying technology-based research solutions, according to Smith.