The challenge: Simplifying the complexities of drug administration for clinical trials
Clinical trials are a critical stage in the development of effective drugs and treatments. But managing these trials is complex and logistically challenging.
From a supply perspective, the right drug (or combination of drugs) must be at each trial site at the appropriate time. From a demand perspective, drug dosage needs to be tailored to each individual (known as ‘subjects’ in clinical trials). And, because trials rely on the goodwill of these subjects, appointments need to run on time and dosages should be administered in a way that reflects the personal preferences of each subject (tablet, capsule, liquid, etc.)
A pioneering biotech company, specializing in developing next-generation cancer treatments, asked Firstsource to help address challenges in their existing process. The appropriate dosages and preferred formats were not always available when subjects arrived for their trials, resulting in the need for repeat visits and frustration. Data was collected manually, and the analysis of this data to predict the drugs inventory level required for subjects was manual-led too. This proved time-consuming and error prone.
The solution: Quality data, automation excellence, and advanced analytics
Firstsource worked with the client’s supply chain and clinical development teams to develop a deep understanding of the pain points impacting the efficiency of drug administration.
Quality data: Subject-specific data (for example information on appropriate dosages and preferences for how a drug was administered) was collected manually. Information was entered onto spreadsheets using value headings determined by the individual keying in that data. This resulted in inconsistent and incomplete data and subsequent disconnects. Firstsource standardized the approach to data collation and automated the manual download of multiple files from various portals. This created the ideal platform for further automation.
Automation excellence: Firstsource then designed and implemented a range of bots to automate and enhance workflows around clinical trials. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) triangulates data from systems across the client’s organization, providing real-time visibility into every stage of the process. This makes it easier for the client to predict which drugs and dosages are needed at which sites and when.
Automation streamlines and simplifies repetitive tasks, so clinicians have more time to spend on their vital, life-saving work. The Firstsource bots produce individually tailored treatment schedules for each site, reducing error, simplifying complexity, and strengthening reporting and compliance.
Enhanced analytics: RPA also creates an ecosystem which enables predictive analytics. The Firstsource solution strengthens insight and warns the client of potential issues so they can step in and fix supply chain problems before they impact trial schedules or give subjects plenty of warning when appointments need to be rescheduled.
The Firstsource approach strengthened operations and accelerated results for the client.
The results: Efficient and effective clinical trial management
From situation analysis through to solution implementation, the client praised Firstsource for their “partnership, customer centricity, and proactiveness” as well as their “strong technical skills and versatility”. The new approach has significantly improved the efficiency and effectiveness of their clinical trial management.
- The risk of scheduled appointments not being fulfilled at the trial site, due to the lack of appropriate drugs or dosage information, had previously been at 25%. Within four months, automation has reduced that risk to zero. Since implementing the Firstsource solution, subject satisfaction scores have improved by 75%.
- Automation and enhanced data have made work easier for employees too. The client has seen a 25% improvement in operational efficiency and clinician satisfaction scores have increased by 85%.
The lead client has recognized Firstsource as the “go-to team for automation”.