It has now been several decades since EDC was first introduced as a tool for data management in clinical trials. In that time, boosted by continuous developments and enhancements, the technology has grown from a somewhat esoteric alternative to paper to a standard considered essential throughout most of the industry. Without thorough and comprehensive training and support resources, though, it will be a challenge for today’s EDC users to fully benefit from the capabilities the technology has developed over the years. While the best EDC systems are defined by simplicity and intuitiveness, they still offer an intricate array of functionalities that require a certain level of instruction in order to access.
But clinical research is a time-sensitive industry, vulnerable to high costs and hungry for financial savings wherever they’re available. It’s not enough for an EDC to have a training and support system in place – that system must be optimized to provide those services without contributing too much to the high costs that the industry already struggles with. When beholden to the costs and logistics associated with travel and scheduling, the training process can be slow and expensive. If a support team isn’t responsive, study timelines can suffer. Without leeway in the fees associated with training, expenses can inflate. Here are a few ways to tell if an EDC vendor is cognizant of these concerns and active in addressing them.
1. The methods are modern
Onsite training can be useful in that it allows for real-time interaction between users and training staff, leading to faster fielding of questions and a more supportive experience overall. But it can also be a drain on resources. Sites and CROs need to make the proper arrangements to host trainers, and EDC companies need to invest a lot in travel and accommodations expenses for them. This can slow the process of getting users up to speed on the software, consuming valuable time that would be better used getting studies up and running. It can also make it difficult for vendors to keep their prices affordable. A savvy EDC vendor may take a more modern approach to training, with videos, screen shares, webinars, and other methods that keep the process more efficient and provide users with more options.
2. Training and support is amply available
Clinical research is a global industry, with researchers all over the world working on trials that could lead to the next big breakthrough in treating, vaccinating, or diagnosing disease. And because high costs and fierce competition have made research today so time-sensitive, there are EDC users in various time zones who, when a challenge comes along, don’t have time to wait for the start of the work day in the city where their vendor is based – they need support immediately. Sponsors and CROs will benefit from selecting an EDC vendor that understands this and offers the phone support they need, when they need it – even outside of regular business hours.
3. The vendor offers perks
The costs of drug development and clinical research today are notoriously high. While EDC helps keep those costs at bay, the software itself is a financial investment that can be a significant budget consideration for sponsors and CROs. And the premium users pay for training adds even more to the overall cost of data management. An ideal EDC is compassionate toward these concerns, and will work to address it through perks, including in training and support, that can offset some of the costs of using their system. Users who align themselves with a vendor for the long-term, or who invest in premium functionalities, can be rewarded for their business with discounted training and other perks. Gestures like this show that that vendor not only values their users’ business, but acknowledges the costs and importance of the work they do.
What this means at Medrio
Medrio has made moves to be as closely aligned with these values as possible. Users will soon be able to access 24 recently-completed training videos covering various functionalities of Medrio’s EDC. They can also take advantage of 24/7 support via both phone and email. And CROs and consultants who join Medrio’s Partner Program are entitled, among other perks, to free training. These are just some of the ways Medrio aims to treat EDC training and support with the seriousness it demands.
Indeed, that demand is real – the necessity of thorough and generous training and support in EDC today is not to be underestimated. Though EDC has been around a long time now, it only recently became established as essentially standard in clinical data management. Strong support services have helped to humanize the process of adopting the technology and overcome some of the resistance that has often hindered that process. Will the industry see similar resistance now that the advent of new eClinical developments like eSource and RBM are becoming a reality? If so, vendors adhering to the values above could help.
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