This year Rebar attended the Summit for Clinical Ops Executives (SCOPE) from January 24th -26th in Miami, Florida. We caught up with five clinical trial innovators who participated in this year’s SCOPE and asked the following question:
What’s the most valuable piece of knowledge or insight that you walked away from SCOPE with?
Michelle Crouthamel, Digital Platform Leader @ GlaxoSmithKline
I am really pleased to see the theme of patient-centricity at SCOPE this year. I was very moved by TJ’s story. The requirements and processes to get started in a clinical trial can be daunting. We need to put patient needs at the center of our trials, not only when determining the research focus but also when arranging trial logistics. If we do, I think we’ll see a simplified process and compressed timelines that would provide meaningful benefits to patients who wish to participate in clinical trials. For patients like TJ, who was diagnosed with advanced cancer, we cannot let it take months to get into a trial when every second counts.
Denis Curtin, Chief Scientific Officer @ mProve Health
Year after year, SCOPE has proven to be the place to both connect with clinical research thought leaders and to witness those new ideas that are moving our field forward in dramatic ways. Last month’s event was no exception. Among the many ideas that shaped the sessions this year were new approaches to developing Real World Data, dynamic changes to data capture, and big strides in precision medicine. However, the topic that stuck with me and kept me thinking about it long after the conference was over was patient engagement through communities. Several sessions covered some of the recent work where patients were consulted before, provided counsel during and were included as treatment partners after clinical research studies through existing and sponsor initiated communities. It is always inspiring to see these patient-first themes come to life.
Bert Hartog, R&D Operations – Innovation Leader @ The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson
This was the first time I attended SCOPE and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised! I found a full program with interesting talks, many delivered in packed rooms. In fact this created a challenge, as the program was divided into streams, where sometimes talks overlapped and you had to choose which to attend. Unfortunately there was no second chance, the only way to learn about talks you’d missed is via the slides that are made available, which is not quite like attending a real presentation.
What struck me is the sheer amount of innovation and creative improvement that is taking place and how many people are sharing their experiences. The field of clinical trials is very much in motion, which is very necessary as there are still many inefficiencies we need to improve, but it is also a sign of maturity where people feel comfortable looking for changes (and sharing their experiences) in this highly regulated field, to make trials more attractive to patients and more efficient for sites and sponsors.
What I liked is the focus on sites, as the central point where clinical trials take place, and people looking for improvements getting patients to sites, and optimal running of trials on sites. It didn’t stop there though, there were also great talks about disruptive changes, for example creating study models with networks of distributed sites, moving away from the traditional investigator site.
What I did not see as much as I’d expected was investigators sharing their view and insights, or patients contributing their perspective and experience, perhaps that is an opportunity for future events, where more stakeholders can get involved in the program and contribute to making clinical trials truly patient centered and as efficient as possible.
Heidi Ross, Project Director, Patient & Physician Services @ United BioSource Corporation
SCOPE offers a unique conference structure, bringing together leaders from pharma, contract research organizations (CROs), consultants, clinical trial sites and biotech companies collectively, to share best practices and introduce new ideas and concepts into clinical trials. Rarely do we have the opportunity to meet, discuss and brainstorm with such a collaborative team.
The interactive breakout sessions were most valuable. In one session, we had senior pharma executives, recruitment specialists, and staff from clinical sites, vetting the issue of accelerated recruitment in a world of complex clinical trials. Layered on top was a resource constrained environment and an acute care setting where timing is critical. This team evaluated various tactics to overcome these hurdles in order to meet accelerated enrollment. Using real-life examples and best practices, discussions were lively, energetic and engaging.
Abbe Steel, Founder and CEO @ HealthiVibe, LLC
Once again, I was thrilled to be so involved in the SCOPE program and get to play an active role in this year’s curriculum. I was especially inspired by the focus on the patient and how our industry continues to build on our promise to put the patient first in the work we do. I saw an even greater emphasis on the intersection of technology and patient involvement ensuring we leverage devices and wearables in a way that fits with patients’ lives. These improvements and focus are exactly what our clinical programs need to truly design and execute patient-centered studies. Another great step forward!
Did you attend this year’s SCOPE? We’d love to hear about your time at SCOPE in the comments!