There are general characteristics that set some research sites apart from the rest. At the same time, sites' strengths and weaknesses are often relative to the requirements of a specific clinical research project. Here we explore universal advantages and explain why in-depth knowledge of the sites' particularities is key for a clinical trial's success.
Optimal site selection is central to ensuring successful patient recruitment, attaining exceptional data quality, adhering to ambitious timelines, and maximising cost efficiency; all of which collectively contributes to the success of a clinical trial. While some sites are objectively good at doing clinical research, in-depth knowledge of a networks' participating sites' particularities is just as important.
What sets a research site apart?
A high-quality clinical research site is distinguished by its relevant expertise, staff availability and qualifications, access to the target study populations, and facilities and equipment needed to carry out a study. Such sites are specialised and equipped with extensive experience in clinical research, while their staff are adept at conducting trials and can understand specific patient needs during clinical trials. Furthermore, these sites have a thorough understanding of local contractual processes and deadlines, which are instrumental in expediting site initiation. Efficient management of concurrent trials is another hallmark of high-quality sites, preventing competition for resources and/or participants, which could impact studies’ start-up and recruitment efforts.
Another integral facet of high-quality research sites is their active engagement. The enthusiastic involvement of site staff and Principal Investigators (PIs) is imperative for successful patient recruitment. The lack of commitment from local staff can significantly increase the risk of trial failure.
Lastly, superior clinical research sites have strong capabilities to facilitate various stages of a study, from design and regulatory submissions, to contracting, execution, and reporting.
Knowing your sites
In clinical research one size often does not fit all. One distinct advantage of the 'warm-base' network approach to site selection is the thorough knowledge a network’s coordinating team has about the participating sites and their suitability for a particular study.
All clinical trial are complex and unique in some important way. The meticulous selection of the most suitable and fitting research sites has a direct impact on the quality and timeline of a trial. Chosen sites determine the feasibility of reaching the target patient population, recruit the required number of participants, and adhere to the study’s budget and timeline, all while maintaining data quality, and participant safety and wellbeing.
Conversely, the selection of sites that are less-suited for a trial’s unique needs can lead to delays and inflated costs due to slow or inadequate patient recruitment, insufficient participant numbers, and poor study data quality.
Our warm-base hospital network CLIN-Net spans over 1,250 clinical sites across 42 European countries. The hospitals in the network have adept staff, high engagement, and comprehensive capabilities that can significantly contribute to the efficacious execution of clinical trials.
Importantly, the CLIN-Net team has in-depth knowledge of their sites. Detailed information on the hospitals' capabilities and track record in past research is stored in our network management system. This facilitates fast selection of potential sites for a new study based on predefined criteria.
Are you interested in taking advantage of the CLIN-Net team's expertise and in-depth knowledge of over 1,200 sites in 42 European countries? Get in touch at CLIN-Net@ecraid.eu.
Do you work at a clinical site and would like to join the network? Sign up here.
Ecraid's first in-house white paper lays out the principles of a warm-base network in clinical research and showcases its advantages. It also provides practical advice on how to set up such a network. Finally, to bring the theory to life, the paper offers a concrete example of an existing warm-base network – Ecraid’s hospital network CLIN-Net.
This resource can be useful to those who conduct multi-centre clinical research themselves, as well as to anyone with a vested interest in finding the most suitable sites for their trial faster and more efficiently.