Reducing Over-reporting to INDs and Increasing Efficiencies at Clinical Research Sites

Sarah Attwood, BSc
Director of Client Services
IntegReview IRB

Abstract: Institutional review boards (IRBs) continue to be overburdened with reports not required by federal regulations. It is important to understand the difference between what the regulations require and what has become an industry standard. Additionally, clinical research sites are often confused about reporting requirements and err on the side of conservatism by over-reporting. By clearly identifying regulatory requirements, the clinical research industry may become more efficient and eliminate unnecessary work for sites as well as IRBs.

Clinical researcher at computer


Study sites are over-reporting adverse events (AEs) and serious adverse events (SAEs) for studies conducted under Investigational New Drug (IND) applications. IRBs are required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) within the Department of Health and Human Services to review “unanticipated problems involving risks to participants or others.”  

IntegReview IRB is a central IRB that reviews many protocols each year, just as institutional IRBs do. In 2016, IntegReview IRB saw an increase in the number of IND safety reports and a slight decrease in SAE reports. The reason for these changes is unknown. IntegReview IRB is seeing about a four-fold increase in IND safety reports, which is far above the increase in business.

IRBs receive many IND safety reports that are not related to the current protocol at the clinical researchsite. The reports could be about something that is happening in Asia or Europe, a different use of the drug, or a different research project. These reports must be processed, even though they are not under the jurisdiction of the IRB for the current study, creating information overload.

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Research with Respect: Advocacy in Pediatric Clinical Trials

A pediatric clinical researcher meeting with a mother and child

Lauren Bird, RN, BSN, CCRC
Clinical Research Nurse

Mallory Rowell, MS, CCRC
Clinical Research Coordinator

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Abstract: Maintaining respect for the autonomy of families enrolled in pediatric clinical trials is a vital aspect in achieving the best outcomes. This article highlights ethical considerations in working with families enrolled in pediatric clinical trials, with a focus on appreciating the difficulty that families face in deciding whether to participate in a clinical trial as well as the importance of advocating for the special needs of family units. The significance of providing valuable resources to families and how this can positively affect recruitment and retention rates is also covered, along with the need to incorporate an ethical mindset into daily practice.

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Adding it up to Create the Perfect Balance: Advanced Site Management Tools

Christina Talley, MS, RAC, CCRP, CCRC

Houston Methodist Research Institute, Office of Strategic Research Initiatives

a clinical research working on a tablet

Abstract: Detailed protocol analysis and feasibility objectively translated into a protocol grade or quantitative score is an effective way to manage overall workload distribution, personnel resource allocation, and financial management before the clinical trial is implemented. This article provides an overview of protocol areas for evaluation, scoring, and current effort tracking models used in clinical research. One model, the Protocol Acuity Rating Scale (PARS), is described in detail with examples of its application to different types of clinical research studies

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BULLSEYE: What is Targeted Monitoring All About?

Jane Ferguson, RN, MN, CCRP
Senior CRA, Westat

Abstract: Targeted monitoring is the on-site component of risk-based monitoring and focuses on the aspects of clinical research that have the most potential to impact participant safety and the credibility of the study’s results. This article provides an overview of targeted monitoring, including the need for targeted monitoring and its role in risk-based monitoring. The basics of conducting a targeted monitoring visit are covered

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Quality by Design for Clinical Trials

Vatché Bartekian
President, Vantage BioTrials, Inc.

Abstract: Quality by design for clinical trials comprises an independent entity responsible for quality standards and an integrated system where each person is accountable for quality. This article explores myths about quality and provides a general overview of the principles and philosophy of quality by design. Quality issues normally encountered at clinical research sites and contract research organizations as well as practical ways to build quality into a research program in order to prevent issues are highlighted. The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle and its tie-in with risk-based monitoring are described.

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The Trainer’s Toolkit: How to Design Successful Blended Learning

artistic representation of blended learning

Anatoly Gorkun MD, PhD, Chartered MCIPD
Senior Manager, MedImmune

Abstract: Blended learning is a training program in which the audience learns the content through a combination of different learning methods with some element of self-control over time, place, and pace. This article provides an overview of audience learning preferences and styles, blended learning, and how to choose the most appropriate learning methods for a specific training program. Examples of and tools for learning methods are provided.

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Virtual Project Management

Radhika Sivaramakrishna, PhD, PMP, CSSBB, CCRP
Senior Director, Project
Covance, Inc.

Abstract: Clinical research project management is increasingly conducted globally across multiple time zones and cultures. In order to be successful, certain adaptations must be made to routine practices. This article describes key terms and basic concepts of virtual project management, considerations for effective communication and collaboration tools, and ways in which the Project Management Institute knowledge areas can be applied to a virtual framework. Situational examples are provided. While this has been written in the context of clinical trials performed by a biotech or pharmaceutical sponsor engaging a CRO, the same concepts could easily be extended to any geographically dispersed project team.

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Influencing Without Authority

Barbara van der Schalie, MS
Learning and Professional Development Manager
Clinical Research Directorate, Clinical Monitoring Research Program
Leidos Biomedical Research

Abstract: Effectively exercising influence, even when one may not have the formal authority to mandate action, is a challenge many clinical research professionals face in their daily work. This article describes the interpersonal and leadership skills necessary to ensure that one’s agenda is not only considered but actively requested, and how successful professionals build networks of relationships with stakeholders and influencers. This article explains the difference between influence and authority, identifies different sources of influence, and describes different influencing styles.


  • This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, under Contract No. HHSN261200800001E. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercials products, or organizations imply endorsement by the United States government.

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A Modern CRA Perspective on the Use of Technology in Clinical Trials

By Takoda Roland, CCRA, CCRP

Founder of Philadelphia Pharmaceutical Research

Disclaimer: The examples noted in the following are all firsthand accounts of the author, but for the purpose of this article have been combined into a single site visit. The visit depicted below is an aggregate of many sites and studies and is not necessarily an exact representation. The original version was written entirely on a smartphone while flying from Philadelphia to Puerto Rico.

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Resolving and Preventing Repetitive Problems in Clinical Trials

April Bishay, BA, MBA
Senior Manager, Clinical Compliance, MedImmune

Anatoly Gorkun, MD, PhD
Chartered MCIPD, Senior Manager, Scientific & Compliance Training, MedImmune

Abstract: Clinical trial findings from audits reveal the same type of problems year after year despite the implementation of quality systems, compliance training, and corrective and preventive action plans. This article provides an overview of the root cause of these problems and how to ensure that corrective and preventive actions are addressing the actual problem rather than its symptoms. Actual case study illustrates some of the common problems in clinical trials.

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