Since the launch of our feasibility and patient intelligence platform TrialHub, my team and I have spent hundreds of hours with feasibility teams worldwide to understand how they structure their processes and to make them more scalable and time-saving. I feel blessed I have been able to work with world-class experts trying to solve clinical trial challenges at planning and management daily. This helped us identify patterns, especially in Clinical Research Organisations (CROs) because they deal with hundreds of feasibilities by handling Request-For-Proposals (RFPs) and preparing for Bid Defenses meetings.
Do you know what all CROs with good feasibility practice have in common?
“We put Feasibility FIRST!”
This is what all the feasibility managers told me when I asked how they manage to run first-in-class feasibility for just 7 to 10 days. But what does this mean?
Most CROs (especially medium ones) have a small team or sometimes even just a single person doing feasibility and preparing the RFP. This means they have to work on all of the protocols coming from potential clients. Sometimes working on 6-7 protocols at the same time.
In the beginning, I thought they just know it all, but they don’t. Their secret sauce has nothing to do with knowledge, rather with their management skills and the super important empowerment by upper management.
In many cases, these feasibility experts have to assess multiple countries at once and in this case, they just rely on their local colleagues to tell them about the country landscape, capacity, and available investigators and patients. Usually, these local colleagues are doing this as a part of their 10+ other responsibilities. So here is where the other important ingredient to the sauce is:
“The upper management let everyone know that Feasibility comes first on your to-do-list”.
The upper management has built the highway for feasibility managers to get what they need as fast as possible. This allows them to prepare for RFPs and bid defence meetings having not just raw data but some local input. It’s this local input that allows them to provide the Business Development team with this unique type of presentation that can, in turn, position them much better in front of clients.
Of course, this structure is much more challenging the bigger the CRO gets. It relies on people’s competence and availability. This structure is hard to scale and to keep its quality, you need to train people on how to get and assess the information quickly and accurately. Finding new people with this kind of expertise is hard, especially when they also have to fit the company’s values and culture.
Yet, my team and I believe there is one thing that can empower this structure even in the biggest organizations. We have worked hard with big and medium CROs, pharma and biotech to build a platform that combines the traditional feasibility assessment with the local specifics like the standard of care and patient journeys to empower feasibility experts to get to the accurate data, analysis, and visualizations as fast as possible without relying on (or not relying too much on) other people and coordination.