Over on Twitter, we’ve gathered some highlights of AACI’s 10th Annual CRI Meeting. Check out our Twitter Moments:
On Wednesday, June 6, AACI’s Clinical Research Initiative (CRI) hosted “Satellite Locations,” a webinar presented by Andrea Kruse, clinical trials network manager at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School, and Cathy Hugney, RN, CCRP, regional oncology program manager at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center. The discussion was moderated by Laurin Priddy, clinical research manager at Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center.
The webinar followed from a lively discussion of the topic on the CRI Listserv, where staff from our 98 member centers crowd-source information from their peers on best practices. In fact, Priddy says she developed the “Satellite Locations” webinar as she solicited help from colleagues to deal with her own “growing pains” related to efforts to institute efficient satellite site communication and clinical trial portfolio expansion at her cancer center. Clearly a hot topic, the webinar attracted 190 registrants from 59 AACI cancer centers – more than half of our member centers.
In addition to Priddy’s wealth of experience, Kruse and Hugney brought their own specialized knowledge. Kruse oversees the research operations of Dana-Farber’s New England network, which consists of four satellite locations, three physician practices, and multiple community hospital partners. The goal of the network, Kruse says, is to increase patient access to high-quality oncology care in integrated community settings while offering access to cutting-edge therapies that are centralized at Dana-Farber’s main campus in Boston. For the past 40 years, Hugney has worked in various capacities at several Cleveland Clinic facilities. Since 2011, she has managed research at eight of its regional sites, including hospitals, family health centers, stand-alone cancer centers and, most recently, community outreach programs.
Kruse and Hugney covered a range of topics, from the structure of their main campus and satellite sites, to how studies are opened at regional sites, how budgets and monitoring visits are managed, and the ways drugs and live tissue samples are transported between locations for storage at the main campus.
A common theme linking the presentations was the role of technology in maintaining connections among primary sites and satellite locations. For instance, Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center uses Skype to loop satellite staff into disease group meetings and other important discussions at the main campus and submits institutional review board applications electronically for trials. The center also uses shared computer drives and SharePoint, a web-based collaborative platform. Both cancer centers manage medical records electronically via Epic.
Other shared practices between the two systems include granting primary investigators the authority to determine which trials are open at satellite locations, making all Phase 1 clinical trials available to satellite patients, and counting trial participant accrual at satellite sites towards the main campus totals.
Slides and video of the webinar will soon be available through the AACI website. The discussion will continue at the 10th Annual CRI Meeting—“Leveraging Change to Advance Cures for Cancer Patients”— slated for July 11-12 in Chicago.
Over the past year, Dr. Gospova Radakovic, director of the Office of Clinical Research at the University of Virginia (UVA) Cancer Center, has been searching for ways to shorten UVA’s clinical trials activation timeline. At the 6th Annual AACI CRI Meeting in Chicago, Dr. Radakovic attended a session entitled, “Death by Startup: Clinical Trial Activation Challenges”, to learn about how her colleagues communicate with the multiple institutional departments (e.g., regulatory, finance administration, budgeting and contracting, pharmacy, pathology, radiology, laboratory, clinical staff) that are involved in the review and approval of oncology trials.
One of the session’s panelists, Dr. Vicki Keedy, Assistant Medical Director, Clinical Trials Shared Resource at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, talked about Vanderbilt’s Clinical Research Implementation Committee (CRIC). CRIC is comprised of permanent members representing various departments–bio-specimen, budget, clinic, infusion, patient management, pharmacy, radiology, regulatory–and ad hoc members from departments including pathology, ophthalmology and dermatology. It meets bimonthly to discuss new protocols and to address questions each department may have about opening and conducting a trial. CRIC meetings are an opportunity to address concerns prior to a trial being reviewed by the institution’s regulatory committees. Since the implementation of the bimonthly committee reviews, Vanderbilt has minimized delays in its trial review process.
When Dr. Radakovic returned to UVA, she created a CRIC committee focused on the following objectives:
- Provide oversight for oncology trial activation.
- Clarify resources needed for trial implementation and coordination.
- Facilitate communication between all internal stakeholders working with the trial, from trial receipt to trial implementation.
- Assign accountability for all tasks necessary for trial activation and completion.
Dr. Radakovic chairs the bimonthly UVA Cancer Center CRIC meetings which include investigational pharmacists, research nurses, regulatory coordinators, budget managers, and research group managers. Since the committee’s formation, UVA has seen improvement in the Clinical Research Office’s communications with internal stakeholders, leading to smoother and more productive site initiation processes. Also, the CRIC review has helped to prioritize the application of limited trial resources, leading to a broader range of available trials.