Clinical Research IO (CRIO) was founded on the belief that we can get life-altering drugs to market faster through the digitization of health care. We think there are already several worthy technological solutions in the marketplace that can have a meaningful impact for research sites and trial sponsors. Unfortunately, the landscape of technology offerings is cluttered and disparate, and clinical research sites in particular lag behind the industry in terms of tech adoption. We set out to discover why.
In March 2018, CRIO commissioned Insightful Alliance, a market research firm, to administer a 37-question web survey. Managers at roughly 3,000 research sites were solicited, 118 responses were received, and all responses were anonymized to CRIO. Here's a breakdown of the survey respondents:
Research sites spend less on IT than the health care sector as a whole
Physician practices are the only type of research site that reports spending as a percentage of revenue close to what health care providers spend on technology. However, given the relatively low level of adoption of industry software within this segment, it's unclear if these practices truly invest at this level or are merely reporting their spend as an allocation of their overall EMR budget. Non-physician practices report spending less than the health care sector benchmark, suggesting an opportunity to make further investment.
IT costs don't scale with revenue
Technology costs are a significantly higher burden for research sites earning less than half a million dollars in annual revenue. This doesn't have to be the case in today's age of prevalent Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. Most SaaS products provide web-based solutions on a subscription basis and at prices that scale with usage.
CRIO's eSource solution (which is different than EDC), for example, is priced "per patient visit." In this model, the cost of the software scales proportionally with our customers' software usage and earned revenue. Our price starts low and increases only if our customers increase their visit volume. Variable pricing models like ours reduce the burden new research sites face with the upfront costs of investing in older technologies. We hope that, along with easier implementations, the lower upfront cost of industry-specific software will encourage adoption, which leads us to our next finding...
Industry-specific software adoption is no more than 40% (Finance)...
...But many respondents using paper-based Regulatory and Source solutions WANT to go electronic...
...And most users EXPECT trials to go electronic in the near future
Curious why most sites are predicting software adoption to increase significantly? You can read CRIO co-founder Raymond Nomizu's take in his blog post, "eSource: Why Now?"
Curious what eSource actually looks like? Learn more.
What Else is Next?
According to respondents, better integration and usability
"A major adoption issue is that sites are targeted to implement this but if a sponsor/CRO has their own system you will have to learn multiple... Sites don't want to invest in platforms that they lack ability to use across all studies."
"Would like to see further work by sponsors to find centralized software and electronic equipment sources so that there are not multiple machines, tablets, etc. of the same kind used specifically for different studies."
"Integration of systems is just beginning, but I believe it to be the wave of the future."
"Consideration needs to be given to the end user...the site coordinator."
We built the CRIO software system with one end-user in mind: research sites. Variable pricing, an intuitive user interface, and constant upgrades are attractive features of any software, but we try to go further to address needs specific to clinical research. Unlike sponsor-provided systems, the same CRIO system can be used in any study. Sites have only one system to worry about, and monitors too can use just one CRIO account across multiple studies and sites. These are just a few examples of how we're trying to answer the calls for more integrated and usable technology.
We hope that the survey respondents are correct in their predictions that eRegulatory, eConsent, and eSource adoption will all increase in the near future. With the right system, we firmly believe that fully tech-powered trials can drastically accelerate and improve clinical research.
Take a peek at CRIO's site-friendly eSource solution. Request a demo.
Author: Bob Bedetti collaborates with the Sales and Marketing teams at Clinical Research IO to evangelize the digitization of clinical research trials. He enjoys learning from people across the health care industry in CRIO's search for ways to get drugs to market faster. He is currently an MBA candidate at Harvard Business School.