Challenges with the top 3 forms of communication during a clinical trial
26 October 2017
Communication among stakeholders in the clinical research industry is integral to the success and improvement of a clinical trial. As trials have developed over time so have communication methods and as communication is vital at every stage of the clinical process new forms of technology have been appointed to enhance methods between sites, sponsors, patients and more, however many industry relationships are still hindered by miscommunication.
So what communication methods do you use?
Instant messaging; it is freely available, may be installed on many types of devices, and is easy to use by clinicians and patients so what’s the problem? The bottom line is instant messaging doesn’t meet most countries compliance regulations- it is not HIPAA compliant and does not notify clinicians when breaches occur, in such a highly regulated industry, instant messaging can often be more trouble than its worth.
Phone Calls/ Conference Calls
Communication through telephone is really very easy and readily available because most people have access to a phone. Phone calls can overcome the barrier of distance as they can reach anyone, anywhere, however phone communication is less personal in many ways and can lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding.
Time difference can also come in to play when contacting an individual further away meaning that practically this is sometimes just not possible. In our opionion phone and conference calls can often be a recipe for disaster. Multiple people on the same line, trying to have their say all at the same time and losing connection has often meant that in reality nothing is gained and infact you have just lost valuable working time.
Email can be a fast way to facilitate the mass communication method. However, email has made it easy to be lazy.
- An email message is not like sending a sealed envelope through the post as it can in turn be forwarded by the recipient to whomever they choose.
- It can’t be guaranteed that the email has reached the recipient and this form of communication makes it easier to ignore or forget to respond.
- Email is often used to transfer documents between relevant people throughout the course of a trial. A survey done by Veeva has found that more than two-thirds of sponsors (68%) are using email to exchange TMF documents with contract research organisations (CROs). With many email servers refusing to accept email attachments over a certain size, this creates a real challenge and a potential risk.
From our experience, while there are obvious efficiencies to be gained by using email, it does however sit away from the compliant ecosystem and presents certain barriers throughout the course of a trial.
So when you are communicating with a member of your team today, have you stopped to think if your method of communication is compliant, efficient and effective?
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