I am Dr. Jeff Kingsley and this is another edition of Riding in Cars With Researchers! Today we are going to talk about metrics. We are going to talk briefly about what a balanced scorecard is and then I’m going to focus in on quality.
If you focus too heavily on one metric you can do so at the expense of others. In research sites, if I focus too heavily on enrollment, or finding patients that meet criteria for research trials, I can do so at the expense of the quality of my data. And, ultimately, that is not serving the industry the best that I can. A balanced scorecard is where you pay attention to an assortment of metrics so that if you do well on all of these, you are in the sweet spot. You are serving the industry in the best way you possibly can in any given moment and time.
In our company we talk about EQTCS – Enrollment, Quality, Timelines, and Customer Service. If we achieve great enrollment (putting patients into trials), the quality of the data we are producing, adherence to the timelines, with great levels of customer service to our patients, our physicians, and to the industry, then we are in that sweet spot.
Today, I am going to talk specifically about quality and we will get to the others in future editions. The quality of data coming out of sites today is expected to be “good”. Good data coming out of research sites is, in my opinion, unacceptable. The bar shouldn’t be “good” data, the bar should be exceptional data. The bar should be 6 Sigma levels of quality. Good quality is not good enough. I believe that sites, and the industry as a whole, need to raise that bar and demand more in terms of the quality of the data coming from research sites. It’s not easy. It’s easier said than done, to produce higher quality data. Producing high-quality data, while paying attention to the rest of your balanced scorecard, is difficult to do. It requires adding additional team members, adding to headcount, to payroll. It requires adding technology solutions and more robust policies and procedures. It requires a more mature site and a more mature infrastructure for the site. And that’s expensive, and that is why most sites don’t do it. But we can’t tolerate not doing it any longer.
A Balanced Scorecard
The industry needs more, and so I believe on a balanced scorecard, I believe in achieving all of those metrics to a high level of sophistication. I believe in not hitting all of those KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to a level that is considered “good” but hitting those KPIs at a level that is considered exceptional. Quality being one of them, we have to demand more of research sites. It’s not cheap. You’ve heard me discuss in previous episodes, that producing high quality is expensive. It needs to be a two-way street. Sites need to produce high quality, and they need to invest in high quality, and our industry has to be willing to pay for it. We have to get to the point where we can recognize “premium provider status”. Sites that can consistently perform on EQTCS are premium providers and should get paid as such. Ultimately, we all win. The industry wins, we serve our patients better, we enroll research trials quicker, we produce higher quality data, and maximize the likelihood of producing phenomenal results to be reviewed by regulatory bodies so that we can accelerate innovation in healthcare.
Sites need balanced scorecards that balance the needs of all of the stakeholders (patients and industry alike), and we need to raise the bar on what is exceptional quality. On what is acceptable quality coming out of research sites. Good quality is nowhere near good enough. With everyone’s help, we can make this happen in our industry.
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