May 31, 2023
How Teckro Facilitates Better Sponsor-Site Relationships
This week, Teckro Program Director Brian Deighan joins the podcast to talk about how sponsors are using Teckro to better engage their research sites. Brian explains how innovative approaches in sponsor communication improve relationships with investigators and discusses how surveys are an underutilized tool for sponsors to understand their sites.
“Email chains for information can get lost, items can get misunderstood, or things may be taken out of context. Teckro and our survey functionality allows for that direct line to sites and really hearing everything firsthand.”
HANNAH LIPPITT: Hello and
welcome to the Totally Clinical podcast brought to you by Teckro.
Totally Clinical is a deep dive into the freshest trends, big-time challenges and most excellent triumphs of clinical
trials. I'm Hannah, your host. Join me as I chat with industry experts, trailblazers, thought leaders and, most importantly, the people benefiting from clinical research. So, tune in, settle back and don't touch that dial. It's time to get Totally Clinical.
HANNAH LIPPITT: In this episode, I’m joined by Brian Deighan, Teckro program director who is here to talk about how sponsors are changing the game when it comes to communicating with sites. And… how they are listening to what sites think.
HANNAH LIPPITT: Brian, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to join me today. Could you start by introducing yourself and describing more about what you do at Teckro?
BRIAN DEIGHAN: Thanks, Hannah. It's a pleasure to be here.
I work with our sponsors, and that's really the clinical trial operations and the medical teams on a program or even a study level. And I'm working with them to optimize how they use Teckro. So, I meet these teams regularly and listen to the challenges they face in their studies and in their roles and I suppose assist them in utilizing Teckro to solve those problems and overall improve clinical trial operations.
HANNAH LIPPITT: So, what do you see as one of the current challenges for sponsors?
BRIAN DEIGHAN: I think certainly site engagement is a challenge. So effective communication across a study at a global, local or even to site level - site staff are busy prioritizing their patients, as you'd expect, and that's what we want. But study teams are also busy too, and the ability to hear the voice of the site is very important, is key to understanding the best way to ensure success for the site and for the study. And on that note, we're working, I suppose, with many of our sponsors now, and they're utilizing Teckro together, direct feedback from their sites and the Teckro survey capabilities we have allow the teams to reach out to site staff, and that could be at a country level, it could even be at a site level, together, direct feedback. And it allows study teams and operational teams to
directly listen to sites, really removes the noise. Some people might use emails and email chains for information can get lost or items can get misunderstood or maybe taken out of context. Teckro and our survey functionality allows for that direct line to sites and really hearing everything firsthand.
HANNAH LIPPITT: Now let's go a bit deeper into the survey capabilities. Now, while we're all used to online surveys, this isn't really the case with clinical trials. At least it's not easy to do without Teckro!
BRIAN DEIGHAN: Yeah, that's the case - so the survey capability is established in Teckro, to study teams and local teams and in six quick steps can create a survey and that can include selecting the country and selecting the sites they want to send it to, so, select your audience, then select a template and the content they want to send. That's usually one to two questions is what we advise and then setting the time and date you want to send it. But as it's already in the platform and study teams are used to using Teckro, it's so simple for those teams and there are other tools out there. So, I can mention names of people once people probably know like SurveyMonkey and we've all heard of that and maybe use it in a social or sporting organizational sense, but that's another external system. And questions I have is, are you allowed to use that system? Where does the data sit as the study progresses where does...where's that data stay? But with Teckro, teams already know that sites are accessing and site staff are I suppose familiar with being recipients of information from Teckro. And as the survey
data also comes through, the results are surfaced in the Teckro platform, making it easy to visualize that data quite quickly for the whole team. We have our dashboards with the pie chart or donut charts that allow you to see the answers to the two or three questions you've asked. But then also maybe to segment or cut the data by country by question and ensuring that all viewpoints are easily accessible and easy viewable by the team.
HANNAH LIPPITT: I think we can all agree that surveys are only valuable if people answer them. What's the site user experience and how does that compare with other survey approaches?
BRIAN DEIGHAN: Yeah, that's a great question. I think from the site's perspective, what sites we use using Teckro currently on their trials. So maybe they're searching to find answers to questions they have when they have a patient. But then sites, are also you know, getting a pop up on their phone with that survey. So, we're all used to getting that ping in our pocket and simply tapping on the push notification, opens up the survey immediately on screen. So, from a site perspective, there's no opening an email, clicking on a link bring you to an external website. We have to maybe log in and access and
fill in a survey and then press send to confirm. It's just with Teckro from the site's perspective, it is popping up on the phone, tapping on it, and there's some action buttons. As I said, it's usually two or three questions, max, that we recommend getting...simply selecting..icon number one and question two, maybe it's a, B or C and then question three, giving your feedback. And from sites perspective, it's quick, it's easy, and they're able to respond in real time.
HANNAH LIPPITT: I imagine that there are so many questions the sponsors would really love to ask their sites. Could you give me some examples of how you see sponsors using this simple but powerful tool and what changes might have resulted based on feedback?
BRIAN DEIGHAN: Yeah, sure. A couple examples, I suppose come to mind from recent study teams I work with. So, one team that I work with there, they were struggling with recruitment. So recruiting wasn’t on track and they utilize Teckro and the survey functionality to be proactive and initiated a survey to all their sites. So, it's across the globe. It's, it's a large Phase III study and asking them three simple questions. And the first one was, what's the main inclusion or exclusion criteria impacting recruitment at your site? Now, you might think they should know the answer to that, but asking it directly to sites and directly to investigators in a quick in about three to four days answer to that question, giving them insight and potentially changes that they can make in their protocol and what action they were taking that was to take that to the protocol review meeting that they have. So, to look and see is there alterations they need to make in the protocol in the future. In the same way for that team as well in the second part of that survey that they asked and tissue screening was actually an issue in their study, so it's an oncology drug, but really what they wanted to clarify was, well, why is there such an issue around tissue screening? What's the major barrier to that type of tissue screening in their study? And they were able to get real, actionable insights from the survey data that came back. One in particular was it highlighted issues with the central lab turnaround time. And that's something that they were able to take to that specific team and work to solve that problem, which again will improve the site experience for them for the next patients coming in the study and next patients being screened, but also then to improve their overall sleep performance and then maybe take you maybe
to another example. And successful recruitment is always a key focus for study teams and I suppose we have teams that are utilizing Teckro to keep sites up to date. But in addition, it's important to get feedback from these sites, so if they are successful on a trial, why are they being successful? Is there information that the survey data can give them that a study can then share with other sites that may be coming on to the study in the next couple of months? We've had teams utilizing that, so asking successful sites what really made them successful? And it gives teams really good, accurate insights that then they can take forward on their study.
HANNAH LIPPITT: If we look at communication overall, can you describe some innovative approaches you've seen from sponsors and how they're better engaging their sites from Teckro?
BRIAN DEIGHAN: Certainly, I can. So, I think in terms of innovation with clinical trial teams, what we've seen is how they can combine direct and specific and timely outreach to their sites. That's something that's key. So that's ensuring that the sites are up to date, but they're also engaged. So, we know that investigators are busy and we know that people will attend investigator meetings and different aspects of a trial, for example, like a site initiation visit within maybe a month or two or three will pass before that site actually has the ability to recruit a patient. So what teams are doing
now is agreeing on regular campaigns. So regular messages that can be sent at a certain cadence to those sites to keep them engaged and keep the study top of mind. Some teams are actually having a monthly meeting, so the operational team
will meet with the medical team to discuss what are the most important aspects of our study we need to communicate to sites this month. And once that is agreed in that short meeting and one of the team is coming into Teckro and sending a message, an agreed cadence, so maybe once a month or once a week in that month out decides to keep up the data. But then in combination with that, the team are also looking for feedback because sites really value getting those updates and keeping them engaged. But they also like to share their feedback. So maybe once a month or every second month they're asking sites for feedback on certain aspects from a medical perspective or an operational perspective of that they may want to have insight on.
HANNAH LIPPITT: As we know, communication is a key to success in any industry. It’s even more critical in clinical trials. Thank you for sharing some customer experiences – Brian and we’ll look forward to having you on again to give us more updates!
BRIAN DEIGHAN: Thanks so much, Hannah, it’s been great.
HANNAH LIPPITT: And that's your dose of Totally Clinical. You can download our podcast on Apple, Spotify and Google. Please subscribe and leave a rating and review so more people can find the show. See you on your next visit and remember to bring your friends. Thanks for listening! Goodbye!
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