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Investigator meetings deconstructed

With our expertise in clinical meetings and our understanding of their significance to the drug development process, we have put together some of our expert insights to help you manage rising costs and time to market, engage audiences, retain content, and enhance relationships between sites and sponsors.
Clinical trials and investigator meetings are intrinsically linked. The arduous clinical trial process is designed to train site personnel and ensure they are versed on the protocol, regulatory issues, enrollment procedures and safety issues involved in early R&D. The success of the investigator meeting directly correlates to the success of both Phase II and Phase III critical steps for bringing a drug to market.

For almost 40 years Ashfield Meetings & Events have managed investigator meetings and have delivered over 200 in the last 12 months alone. With our expertise in clinical meetings and our understanding of their significance to the drug development process, we have put together some of our expert insights to help you manage rising costs and time to market, engage audiences, retain content, and enhance relationships between sites and sponsors.

Disrupt the format

For the greatest impact, consider stepping away from the standard investigator meeting format. In addition to focusing on the logistical success, ensure your meeting is engaging and facilitating information retention.

Creative thinking strategies can help you break away from the mindset that has become engrained in how businesses perceive an investigator meeting should be run. At Ashfield we use our SPARK THINKING methodology; explore, refine and deliver new ideas. Whatever the approach of choice, the key premise is to ask questions and challenge preconceptions to help generate new ideas and message delivery methods to generate sustained interest in a trial and follow protocols effectively.

Consider the importance of role-based training – analyze what is truly driving the desired results and what needs to be reevaluated for maximum impact. Break up the sessions to focus on content critical to each role in the trial, offering role-based tracks and breakout session with opportunities for discussion and networking. It could be helpful to gather feedback from site personnel during site initiation visits to develop relevant content.  For an investigator or study coordinator to truly invest, the information should be engaging, but also relevant.

Is virtual the answer?

When reevaluating the meeting formula and thinking about specialized training, take a look at what works best in a live environment and what content can be delivered virtually. Distance learning, while not right for every type of meeting, can deliver against numerous obstacles surrounding clinical trial training, particularly often-dull standard presentations or regulatory requirements. Allowing certain portions of the content to take place online, frees up space in the agenda to focus on robust protocol training and reduce overall meeting expenses by cutting sponsor-paid time out of the agenda. Principal investigators spend less time away from their clinics and patients, and you will likely see returns via increased site participation.

Ultimately, cost should not be the deciding factor, merely a contributory one. The communication needs and understanding of site preferences should drive the decision to utilize distance learning strategies.

Plan early

In the chaos of the R&D process, it is common for the investigator meeting planning to get pushed aside until a few months before the meeting. As our own research shows, investigators do not like spending a lot of time away from their practice, and rightfully so. Take the time to ensure your objectives are clearly stated; this will greatly increase your ability to succeed in fulfilling your recruitment requirements for the study.

There are many monetary savings associated with advanced planning. For example, reduced venue rental fees, and in particularly associated travel costs which represent the biggest variable cost. By booking early you can realize greater value for your investment while remaining compliant.

Investigator meetings can be key to the success of a clinical trial in the roadmap to a market smashing product launch. Apply some creative thinking to the agenda structure, simple strategies to impact engagement and retention and plan as early as possible to navigate the challenges of the investigator meeting. Ashfield Meeting & Events continues to strive for new and innovative ways to keep your audience engaged and ensure the eventual success of the product in the market.

This article has been published by Ashfield Meetings & Events and written by Debbie Liberio, Business Director. 

2nd June 2016



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