July 20, 2021

Saving Time by Simplifying the Journey

Want more efficient investigative sites? Simplify their processes with IRT

Since 1999, the number of clinical trials has increased significantly.  According to clinicaltrials.gov, the number of registered recruiting trials is 58,728* as of July 2021, compared to just 2,119 in 2000* yet the number of investigators registered with the Bioresearch Monitoring Information System has almost halved in this same timeframe. One of the main reasons quoted by investigators for this reduction was inefficiency.

Today, 67% of investigators work on multiple trials. Add to this the fact that clinical trials have also grown more complex in recent years and you can begin to understand why inefficiency is a real cause of frustration for clinical sites.

Here we review how Interactive Response Technology (IRT) systems can provide functionality that streamlines processes for investigative site personnel, helping to improve efficiencies during clinical trial execution.

So many systems, so little time

For site staff, working on multiple clinical trials often means working with different systems for recording or reviewing different data from each subject on each trial. Systems such as EDC, eTMF and eCOA are just a few that are commonly used in today’s clinical trials and are available from many different providers. So, while using IRT for randomization and trial supply management (RTSM) is incredibly beneficial to trial sponsors, for site staff it can become just another system that needs to be managed, unless it is designed with functionality that simplifies their daily tasks.

All IRT systems perform the same functions, regardless of which IRT vendor is selected by the sponsor.  The difference between them is in how the system helps site users perform varying tasks like screening, randomization, dispensing medication, and identifying subjects who are lost to follow up and need chasing up.

Joanna Tait Solutions Consultant Director Calyx

“How IRT systems help site users perform various tasks can be the difference between efficiency and inefficiency for investigative sites.”

– Joanna Tait, Solutions Consultant Director, Calyx

How IRT simplifies site staff tasks

One example of this is how tasks are completed within the IRT. An effective IRT system will not only provide site users with a customizable dashboard of their upcoming tasks, it will also allow them to act directly from the dashboard and take critical actions while the patient is in front of them. This is only possible if the dashboard is fully integrated with the IRT and all the information behind it remains the same, meaning the data and reporting needed by investigators is accurate, up-to-date, and available in real time. When this is the case, the IRT system becomes one central platform for managing and executing required and varied tasks.

By ensuring all critical information is present in one place ‒ without the need to look at other reports and data sources ‒ the IRT system enables the site user to easily identify tasks to be completed on any given day, week, or even month, allowing them to be more productive with their time. The user will also clearly be able to see the urgency of the task allowing them to easily prioritize their activities.

With insight into what tasks are coming up using pre-defined and ad-hoc filters within the IRT system, investigative site staff gain confidence in their ability to plan more efficiently for upcoming visits and proactively perform the necessary activities prior to attempting transactions within the system.

This also allows investigators to follow up on non-compliance quickly and accurately.  By giving them the power to proactively identify patients who are not attending site visits as scheduled, site users can plan and manage their time more effectively.


By providing investigative site staff with tools that are designed to simplify their daily processes, investigative sites operate more efficiently. This not only leads to higher site compliance and better data quality, but also to shortened study durations, ultimately helping the sponsor to reduce trial timelines and costs.

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