The Advantages of Using a Contact Center for Your Next Clinical Trial
August 17, 2022
What is a Contact Center?
A contact center is a technology enabled centralized department that deals with inbound and outbound communications from current, potential, old, and new customers or clients. Contact centers can be located either within an organization or outsourced to another company handling phone calls, emails, SMS messaging, app-based communications, telehealth, customer engagement strategies, etc. as part of their services, hence the term contact center.
The Top 6 Benefits of Using a Contact Center for Clinical Trials
Engaging with patients, recruiting them, and supporting their enrollment into the clinical trial is the inherent value of the clinical contact center. The duties do not end here, however, as the contact center also keeps the patients enrolled and actively engaged for a longer time period (patient retention). Surveillance of these patients is yet another service that these clinical contact centers offer. The realm of services offered by clinical contact centers even includes patient recruitment strategies, to identify, target, and enroll people into the clinical trial. These are just some advantages of using tech enabled contact centers in clinical trials over traditional methods:
- Better Recruitment Rate
Contact centers can screen a larger number of potential patient respondents, thus speeding up the recruitment process. Contact centers, especially those that are staffed with health professionals, are experienced at instilling confidence in prospective patients. This makes the clinical trial recruitment process less cumbersome and more straightforward. In the same vein, a shorter amount of time is spent during recruitment on sorting through prospective patients based on the inclusion and exclusion criteria of the trial.
Contact centers help produce an influx of participants in a clinical trial while at the same time making it convenient for individuals to participate while reducing the burden on for the healthcare professionals who are conducting the clinical trial, by supporting the clinical trial participants in study. Outbound call recruitment rates are usually about 10 times higher in trials handled by contact centers compared to research clinics.
- Cost Efficiency
It’s reported that 85% of all clinical trials experience delays caused by recruitment, costing projects between $600,000 to $8 million daily. Dedicated contact centers help to mitigate these delays, resulting in valuable cost savings to sponsor companies. Contact Centers have the expertise, technology, and all other resources to help reduce clinical trial costs.
- Higher Patient Retention
Following successful clinical trial recruitment, a contact center is an ideal way to continuously engage with study participants and support them by addressing their questions about the clinical trial beyond the initial information given to them. It allows for a two-way conversation and increases the opportunity for patient compliance. Patient engagement equals better clinical trial retention rates.
- Faster Scheduling
Contact centers drive faster scheduling of in-person or virtual appointments once trial participants have been selected. Interactive tech enabled services help to triage various groups of participants to the right appointment slot. This includes a feature that allows participants to access the clinical trial at times convenient for them.
In today’s fast-paced working world, contact centers must be equipped with digital tools and apps to keep important records of the patient’s health. Successful contact centers are equipped to use these digital tools in medicine including SaMD and technical support which analyzes, evaluates, and presents a provisional diagnosis. Data platforms like Five 9, Claris, Egnyte, and Microsoft 365 are also used by contact centers to optimize the agent and customer experience.
- Improved Data Collection and Storage System
Contact centers collect important data on a clinical trial which allows clients to assess information that can improve the patient journey. Upon the completion of a clinical trial, contact centers help health and pharmaceutical companies collect valuable insights on participants and first adopters of a clinical solution. Inbound and outbound options allow health and pharmaceutical companies to connect with trial customers and understand their preferences based on their location and demographics.
6 Tips for Choosing the Right Clinical Contact Center
The best contact centers care about patients, their journey in the trial, and take care of their needs. They prioritize the needs of the patient, keeping in touch with them via call, email, texts, app-based communications, and other high-tech modes of communications. An excellent clinical contact center will have valuable knowledge about clinical trials, be cost effective, and add value for not only client but the patient as well.
Below are some important factors to consider when choosing a contact center for your clinical trial:
- Location of Contact Center
The staffing of the contact center is heavily dependent on its location. Offshore centers may be more affordable, but they usually offer fewer services and may struggle explaining and gathering key information from prospective patients.
- Dedicated and/or Shared Agents
Consider a dedicated contact center team for large, complex studies and/or robust pipelines. Alternatively, we work across multiple studies if you are looking for a lower cost option in your contact center.
- Reporting System
Contact centers collect information from patients as well as provide important information to those patients. An effective contact center will report this information back to the client efficiently and customized to meet their project needs.
- Contact Center Availability
Not all contact centers have 24/7/365 availability, so be sure to determine your specific need and coverage required for your project and then ensure that this is agreed to with your contact center. If your study requires 100% availability, then, you must ask the right questions to choose the right option for your clinical trial. An experienced contact center will walk you through this process to help you define your specific contact center needs.
- How Does the Contact Center Handle Downtime
Once you involve a contact center in your clinical trial, they automatically become an integral part of the project. You have to ensure that the contact center you are choosing has a solid disaster recovery and business continuity plan in the event of an unforeseen disruption in services. Downtime can seriously affect the success of your clinical trial and just a few hours of downtime can cause considerable damage to the trial's success.
- Multilingual Capabilities
If you expect patients across different countries or non-English speaking study participants to participate in your clinical trial, you need to be certain that the contact center you are choosing has the capability to manage the various languages that will be spoken. Be sure to confirm with your contact center that they offer such multilingual services.
Why Choose Linical's Clinical Contact Center
Linical’s Clinical Contact Center has the knowledge, strategies, and skilled teams needed for successful clinical study conduct. As a niche department within the global Linical CRO, the mission of our Contact Center is to facilitate an efficient and structured contact management system specific to project needs for end users and clients by providing quality support with clinically trained contact center agents.
Linical’s customer retention rates of 60% speak volumes as to the quality of support our specialists provide. Linical Contact Center agents are cross-trained to support multiple projects for comprehensive coverage during hours of operation. Extensive training in CITI, GCP, Adverse Event Identification, Data Privacy, Soft Skills, and project-specific procedures allow our staff to maintain an average Quality Control Call Monitoring score of 95%. We offer a wide array of services to our clients. In the clinical research space, our team assists in recruitment, subject pre-screening, and long-term follow-up just to name a few. Our commercial support team specializes in medical information, post-marketing safety intake, product and technical support, as well as SaMD (Software as a Medical Device) project development/commercial initiatives.
Linical’s Clinical Contact Center provides highly trained and talented agents, including multilingual support in global languages. Our US-based contact center provides professional training to the entire staff to ensure patient safety during clinical trials and during the management of commercial products. They organize targeted campaigns to increase the inflow of the patients being recruited in the clinical trial. The Linical Clinical Contact Center Agents maintain a high level of professional communication skills via telephone, email, and other platforms. They are not just bound to one platform of media, rather they approach people via a diverse range of channels and have produced amazing results and immense value to our clients’ trials.
Ask how Linical’s Clinical Contact Center can make a difference in your next clinical trial.
Kappa SF, McClain C, Wallace K, Cinquina P, Lawson D, Smith MM, Walz E, Edwards B, Kirsh GM. Implementation of a Centralized, Cost-effective Call Center in a Large Urology Community Practice. Rev Urol. 2020;22(2):67-74. PMID: 32760230; PMCID: PMC7393684.(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7393684/)
Dr. Ansonya Pace-Burke
Contact Center Manager - Linical Americas