For clinical trial management system (CTMS) users, a protocol calendar acts as an anchor for all activities within a clinical trial. There are multiple strategies your research site can use to ensure you’re building an accurate and comprehensive protocol calendar in your CTMS. While building your own calendar is common practice within the industry, there are other strategies available to ensure your calendar is reliable and built quickly. To save time and resources, it is important to analyze and select which strategies will be most effective at your site.
Having a staff member whose sole responsibility is to build calendars offers multiple benefits to the clinical team at your site. A dedicated calendar builder is able to focus their entire bandwidth on creating optimal calendars, which helps to ensure accuracy, increases efficiency and establishes an expert in both building and understanding your protocols. This strategy establishes one person as the primary contact for all calendars, which creates a consistent hub of communication and reduces the likelihood of misinterpretation as information passes multiple staff members. In addition, as this staff member continues to build more calendars, the accuracy and efficiency of their efforts will increase.
For some sites, hiring a calendar building staff member may be a realistic choice, however, this may not be a resource available for all. Effort tracking can help you determine the research threshold at which it makes sense for your site to hire additional staff.
On average, a protocol calendar takes eight hours to build. If your site is building 200 calendars per year, this could justify the salary of a protocol builder. However, if your site only conducts 5-10 studies annually, hiring an exclusive staff member for calendar building may not be the most optimal use of resources.
If your site already has an internal team trained to use your CTMS, consider broadening their training to include calendar building capabilities team-wide. This can benefit your site by distributing workload across all members and allowing your staff to take on trials as a team, regardless of their role.
If you do choose this approach to calendar-building, we recommending instituting a standard operating procedure that requires at least one additional team member to review each protocol calendar after it’s been built in the CTMS. Having more than one set of eyes review a calendar before it’s put to use reduces the chance of overlooked errors and increases calendar accuracy.
When considering this strategy, it is important to consider the amount of time it will take to train staff members in the complexities of calendar building. While a CTMS can help simplify the calendar building workflow, your calendar building team needs to frequently construct calendars to remain fluent and efficient. If your team is only responsible for building a handful of calendars annually, it could take more time to re-learn calendar building workflows, especially as protocol complexity increases.
If your site doesn’t have the necessary resources to hire additional staff, or the time to train all of your CTMS end users, purchasing professionally built calendars can result in the most accurately built, quickest and least expensive calendars. Nimblify Protocol Calendars are supported by Nimblify’s team of experts, who can build a calendar and deploy it to your CTMS environment within just a few days of receiving a calendar request.
While outsourcing calendar building may seem like an expensive venture, the per-calendar cost is often far lower than what it would cost your staff to build the protocol calendar internally. Removing calendar-building from your staff’s to-do list allows research team members to dedicate time to higher-value tasks, such as work that’s billable to the sponsor.
Oftentimes, sites encounter hurdles when trying to budget for pre-built protocol calendars on an ad-hoc basis. Fortunately, our bundles of calendars for Allegro CTMS customers or subscription model for OnCore Enterprise Research customers mitigates that challenge. These options enable clear budget forecasting and ensure quality calendars for your site year-round.
Ensuring an accurate and efficiently built-calendar is important for every research organization, but strategies may differ across different sites. To learn more about how one site took on the task of optimizing their calendar building strategy, download this case study.