We all have our tales of woe with regard to investigator meetings. My first one was [redacted] years ago, in a beautiful hotel in Paris. The meeting room overlooked the Eiffel Tower, but I was so nervous about giving my presentation, I didn’t even notice. I needn’t have worried – less than 5 minutes into my well-prepared and rehearsed masterclass on how to complete the eCRF, three people in the front row were sleeping off their lunch!
Whatever about us part-time presenters, spare a thought for the audience, who now rarely even have the prospect of an evening stroll in a nice city to console them as they sit through a couple of days of PowerPoint slides. A colleague of mine was once tasked with collecting the comment cards at the end of a busy investigator meeting. Only one card had been completed, and that comment was just three words long: all in capitals, it simply said, “SEND. WINE. NOW!” To this day, it’s pinned on the board above his desk, a pointed reminder that we need to do better!
So why is it then, in this age of instant communication, smartphones, and social media, that the accepted standard for site training - for informing site staff and clinical research associates / getting them engaged and excited about our clinical trials - is still to make them sit for 2 days in a dark room in an airport hotel?
At Longboat, we know from conducting focus groups with site staff that investigators and their teams really do value well-run meetings. Being away from the office gives them the opportunity to concentrate on the trial and to discuss how the theory of the protocol will translate to managing patients at their clinic. The feedback we get, however, is that too often, the opportunities for interactivity and networking are secondary to ‘ticking-the-box’ presentations on the eCRF and how to pack lab samples.
So we designed the Longboat platform to faclitate more effective meetings. Our protocol training covers the key aspects of the study - the mechanism of action, core objectives, study design, key assessments, eligibility criteria, etc. Providing this to the sites in advance of a shorter, more-interactive, workshop-style investigator meeting leads to a far better experience, less time away from the office for sites and study teams alike, and significantly lower costs.
And when the sites return home and begin screening and managing their patients, the Longboat platform provides seamless, instant support via triaged communication, site & patient engagement tools, and detailed instructions of every patient visit, direct to their smartphones.
Even those boxes that need to be ticked – vendor training, generic topics (e.g. GCP training , Safety training), and procedural training can be done via Longboat. All this makes for more time for interactive discussion between the study team and site staff at the investigator meeting, and reduces the meeting to 1 or 1.5 days, which benefits everyone……and even leaves some time for that much-needed glass of wine!