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New Year's Resolutions for a Clinical Research Site Director

Looking to make New Year's Resolutions for your clinical research site that will stick? Check out these achievable clinical trial business objectives for research site directors!

1/10/2019 | By Anna Krauss, Project Manager |


As 2019 begins, many of us are optimistically setting ourselves New Year's Resolutions. Keeping in mind that about 20% of these resolutions are actually realized, Team CRIO has compiled a list of completely achievable, realistic goals for clinical research site directors in 2019. Check out this list of clinical trial management objectectives, along with CRIO's educational resources to help you get there.

  1. Hire Good Clinical Research Staff

  2. We've said it before, we'll say it again, your clinical research site team should be an extension of yourself. You should be able to trust your staff to do their jobs in a way that will ultimately benefit the site-- not in a way that will inspire clinical research horror stories.

    Remember that who you hire, from clinical research coordinators to regulatory specialists, is important not only for the quality of their data collection & site administrative tasks, but also for the morale of you and the entire research team. Both are important for running a successful clinical trial site, which further underscores the importance of hiring good clinical research staff!

    The best place to start with this resolution is within. Do some business "soul searching." What are your site's core values? What is your site's culture? Can anything be improved upon? What qualities are you looking for in a candidate? Asking yourself these business and EQ questions will allow you to identify candidates that would best fit into your site's culture, as well as allow you to see how bringing them onboard will impact your business.

    Once you have identified who and what you are looking for, the interview will allow you to understand your candidate's priorities, goals, and how they would fit into your team. Again, give this real thought as each member of your research team is important to your site's performance. Here are a few questions to help you decide if this candidate is worth the investment.

    After you have hired your applicant, or even if someone is already a member of your team, it is important to provide consistent support and proper training. Use these seven techniques to develop and keep dependable clinical research coordinators in 2019.

    Additional Resources:

    Download the Clinical Research Coordinator Hiring Kit

  3. Source More Clinical Trial Studies

  4. Many sites are starting to move towards sourcing their own studies as part of new site business development strategies. While sourcing studies for your site can do wonders for your study pipeline, it can also be difficult if you don't know where to start and have little experience with business development tactics. A few quick tips?

    • Look for studies on a sponsor or CRO's websites
    • Network network network at conferences
    • Have a pre-prepared sales pitch
    • Keep track of every study you apply to and regularly follow up
    • Be diligent and be prepared to wait

    Additional Resources:

    Grow your site by sourcing your own studies

    Read this coordinator's tried and true business development tactics to increase your study pipeline in 2019!

  5. Run More Effective Clinical Research Staff Meetings

  6. Have you ever lost control of a meeting and realized, at the end, that nothing has actually been accomplished? You're not alone. Just Google "meetings productivity" and you'll see endless articles telling you why your meetings are distracting and inefficient (such as this one).

    Well this is a new year! While we wouldn't recommend completely ditching your clinical research staff meetings, we do have some advice from a successful clinical trial site owner on how she structures her meetings to be efficient and under 30 minutes! Her three-part agenda?

    1. Study Updates
    2. Old Business
    3. New Business

    Additional Resources:

    Avoid spending all day in your conference room

    Check out the full article here to supercharge your clinical research staff meetings, increase accountability and communication, and even improve staff morale in 2019!

  7. Invest in (GOOD) Clinical Trial Technology

  8. Utilizing technology in clinical trials is not a new concept and has seen significant returns in recent years.

    CTMS is already broadly adopted, with high satisfaction rates. eSource and eReg (coming soon to CRIO!) are poised to break out in clinical trials, with many predicting all trials will go electronic in the next five years. In this new year, look to the future and begin researching technology that will help your site stay competitive in clinical trials.

    Technology can help grow your business and decrease deviations. If you are still using paper to collect source data and manage site recruitment and financials, you are not taking advantage of the technology that has been created specifically with you and your business in mind.

    If you are already using technology at your research site, but find it more cumbersome than useful, it is worth looking at other technology vendors-- this market is constantly evolving.

    Additional Resources:

    A guide for better clinical trial software

    If you are interested in investing in research for your site, or if you are looking to change technology vendors, take a look at this cheat sheet for what you should look for in an eSource and/or CTMS system.

  9. Improve Clinical Trial Budget Negotiations

  10. Study start up can be hectic. Between the back and forth conversations between you and the trial sponsor to confirm a clinical trial agreement (CTA), and the trial budget negotiations, little line items that could be added to your budget have the potential to slip through the cracks. These extra budget items add up! Check out this "budget extras" checklist to ensure you are not losing revenue in 2019.

    Additional Resources:

    Keep your piggy bank full with these budget negotation tips

    Are you currently using eSource but paying for it out of pocket? Are you interested in implementing an eSource system at your research site but are concerned about the expense? Did you know that you could add eSource into your research budget? We put out a call to our clients asking them how they were able to get eSource reimbursed in their research budget, check out these best practices!

  11. Recruit More Clinical Trial Patients

  12. Patient enrollment is often the crux of a successful clinical trial study. But how do you increase patient enrollment? A solid patient recruitment campaign. A few tips?

    • Throw your patient recruitment web far and wide
    • Standardize the patient recruitment data
    • Get more flexible capacity for patient recruitment through outsourcing
    • Develop patient recruitment pre-screeners
    • Start your patient recruitment campaign with a text blast and/or email blast
    • Make (at least) three rounds of recruitment calls
    • Try texting
    • Keep your patient recruitment funnel updated
    • Create an inbound recruitment strategy through an advertising campaign

    Additional Resources:

    Pick up those phones and start calling prospective clinical trial patients

    Get the details on how to create a successful outbound patient recruitment campaign to boost clinical trial enrollment here!

  13. Stay Zen

  14. Make 2019 the year of health-- your health!

    Long days and stress often lead to sedentary and unhealthy lifestyles, which will ultimately affect your mental and physical health. Regardless of what is going on at your research site, be sure you are taking care of all physical (drink water, eat nutritious foods, get up and walk around for a few minutes) and mental (incorporate a few minutes of mindfulness each day) needs.

    Remember, what you are doing is important. Lift your head up from the paperwork and day-to-day operations once in a while and reflect on why you got into clinical research in the first place.

    Additional Resources:

    Stay zen at your clinical trial site

    If you are feeling burnt out on clinical research read these tips on how to achieve a better work-life balance.


    🎆 Here's to 2019! 🎆

    Anna Krauss, author

    Anna Krauss is a Project Manager at Clinical Research IO. She has experience in the health field through her work as a Research Assistant with the MaineGeneral Hospital system, Hospital General de Agudos Bernardino Rivadavia in Argentina, and through her experiences working as an EMT.

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