The offices and institutions that conduct clinical research studies are a major component of successful pharmaceutical research. As a site relations specialist, I work very closely with these research sites to ensure they are well equipped for the study and that they are motivated to enroll qualified patients. For Praxis-assisted campaigns, a site relations specialist typically provides the following support to research sites, with additional customizations made to suit the study, the site, and the patients.
Strong relationships with research sites.
At the beginning of a study, I want to be sure sites have an understanding of who I am, what Praxis does, and what recruitment assistance we will be providing them. In that spirit, I reach out to sites to do introductory calls. During these calls, I learn a little bit about each site’s study coordinator and then go into detail regarding the patient recruitment process we’ve developed with the pharmaceutical company. I find this step to be vital because it helps me establish relationships with the study coordinators. It also gives them an idea as to what they can expect from us at Praxis, and whom they should contact if they have any questions about recruiting patients at their sites.
Empowerment of sites to seek candidates from their own patient databases.
We always encourage sites to try and recruit patients they are already seeing at their offices who may be a good fit for the study we’re working on. This is for two primary reasons. First, the study team has an existing relationship with these patients. Second, because they already have these patients’ medical records on file, it helps simplify the prescreening process.
However, explaining the study to patients unfamiliar with clinical research can often be difficult. This is why we provide sites with informational print pieces that break down medical jargon into easy-to-understand language and use images to explain the study process. These pieces help patients understand the study’s purpose and what would be expected of them if they choose to participate. A site relations specialist works with the sites to review the different material options and determine which pieces will fit best into each site’s recruitment process. Some like to use recruitment brochures and posters in their waiting rooms, while others want just some fact sheets and visit guides to break down the study information for enrolled patients.
Communication with study coordinators on the outcomes of each referral.
Our work doesn’t stop after a qualified patient is identified and sent to a study site. Study coordinators have a lot of work to do and sometimes need help managing all the potential participants with whom they are communicating. This is another scenario in which our site relations specialists shine. Praxis owns a HIPAA-compliant online referral database, called PraxisDirect, that stores all the contact information and current statuses of the different interested patients. We constantly go through the system to review the current status of each potential participant and send friendly reminders to study coordinators when there are patients with whom the site should touch base again. We also help the study coordinators keep track of the various outcomes that can result from the prescreening or screening process (e.g., if patients prequalify, change their minds, fail the screening, etc.). We help update the outcomes in PraxisDirect to ensure accuracy when sites access this information, which is available to them at any time.
These are some of our best tips for working with research sites. Interested in partnering with our site relations specialists on your next study? Get in touch!