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Eliminating the swivel chair clinical investigator

Sunday, January 15, 2017

There is a heavy burden on investi­gators and research nurses when executing clinical trials and clinical care. In addition to the normal com­plexities of patient recruitment and care, investigative sites are stuck in the middle of multiple data entry systems. They move back and forth between electronic data capture (EDC) and electronic medical record (EMR) ap­plications to make sure information is recorded accurately and in the right place—a situation commonly known as “swivel chair interoperability.”

This process is unnecessarily com­plicated, leads to human error and ultimately puts trials and patient safety at risk. We’ve reached the point where technology can help eliminate this burden. But which technology—the EMR or EDC application?

Potentially, it’s neither. We can make the leap to a seamless, electron­ic clinical research model with a tech­nology bridge that meets a physician’s needs for both trials and clinical care. Imagine a software application that is intelligent enough to know what data is needed for a trial versus a diagno­sis. Capture the data once, let the ap­plication figure out which system—the EMR or EDC—requires it, and simplify data entry for the physician.

We’re not far away. Common data standards are making healthcare and pharmaceutical systems work to­gether and a technology bridge pos­sible. Data will be easily shared and useable between the many EDC and EMR systems that exist globally.

The potential benefits could be far reaching. Human data entry errors would be reduced. No more captur­ing information on Post-it Notes. And data would ultimately be in all the right places, without an added burden on clinical researchers and caregivers.

Now’s the time to move to an investigator-friendly approach. Re­move the incremental complexity of data entry and keep physicians fo­cused on taking care of patients and executing clinical research in a safe and effective manner.

Let’s eliminate the swivel chair in­vestigator. If the technology bridge is there, why wouldn’t we?


Written by Guest Writer Henry Levy. Levy, chief strategy officer at Veeva, has nearly 25 years of experience transforming the way the biopharmaceutical industry improves patient health. He leads Veeva Systems’ market strategy and strategic relationships with customers and partners in multiple areas, including clinical. Levy also represents Veeva in various industry collaborations. Previously, he ran client development and commercial services at PPD, one of the world’s largest CROs, and was head of Accenture’s global life sciences R&D practice.

This article was reprinted from Volume 24, Issue 01, of The CenterWatch Monthly, an industry leading publication providing hard-hitting, authoritative business and financial coverage of the clinical research space. The Action Items section features short columns  focusing on actionable or how-to advice from clinical trial professionals. To submit an Action Item, please contact editorial@centerwatch.com. Subscribe >>

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