September 26, 2023

4 Key Takeaways From DPHARM 2023

This past week, over 800 attendees representing various clinical trial sponsor organizations, vendors, and patient advocacy groups converged on Boston for the 13th annual DPHARM conference to examine how the industry can leverage innovative approaches to solve today’s problems in clinical research.

Slope was in attendance at this year’s conference. In case you missed it, here are four takeaways from last week’s event. 

Sponsors agree that an end-to-end digital transformation strategy is necessary.

Innovation in clinical trials comes in many forms, but at DPHARM, digital solutions were at the forefront of the discussion surrounding study execution. Hassan Kadhim from BMS gave a compelling talk about addressing the innovation gap in clinical research by confronting “the innovation paradox” — Tony Davila and Marc Epstein’s idea that organizations should invest in strategic innovation when growth is strong, confidence is high, and products are performing well. The very processes and systems that propel a company to success have limitations, but new solutions offer sustained momentum.

So, in the world of clinical research, what does addressing the innovation paradox look like in practice? It means evaluating the entire clinical trial lifecycle and determining where digital technology can optimize efficiency and compliance. Clinical trial execution is a complex journey that runs the gamut from study startup to reporting, but there are opportunities to leverage exciting new solutions to alleviate patient and site burden while improving overall study performance.

Attendees unanimously agreed that site-centricity is important.

The patient burden has been a major talking point in the industry for quite some time, but this year’s DPHARM program proved that the discourse around site burden is continuing to grow. As the “boots on the ground” in a clinical trial, research sites are some of the most important contributors to study success. In recent years, however, industry leaders have reported a mass exodus of trial investigators and site staff from clinical research — a trend that is rooted in burnout and a lack of resources.

As trial sponsors work to advance clinical research, they are more concerned than ever about setting up sites for success so that they are empowered to continue supporting clinical research. Merck’s Mark Travers led a panel discussion with experienced leaders from various research sites to gauge their perspectives on how trial sponsors can partner with clinicians to set them up for success. Panelists expressed support for site-centric technology, but highlighted the importance of connecting study stakeholders, with one panelist saying, “We need consistency and better vendor communication with sites and with each other.” Participants agreed that there is a lack of continuity between sites and sponsors across the industry, but solutions that facilitate consistency, collaboration, and consultation can help to bridge the gap. 

One clinician also highlighted the importance of solutions that offer time-saving benefits for sites so that they can spend more time with their patients. By enabling more patient interaction, sponsors can actually help their sites retain both patients and staff.

There was strong interest in modernizing workflow processes and scaling execution to achieve speed and quality. 

Part of improving efficiency and compliance at the site level involves streamlining workflows, and this was a common thread throughout various DPHARM discussions. In one panel discussion about navigating and adopting innovation after the COVID-19 pandemic, panelists highlighted the need for flexibility in the world of clinical research, along with the importance of an optimized, positive user experience. 

Digital technology presents a unique opportunity to transform traditional processes at clinical research sites into digital workflows. These kinds of solutions not only enable flexibility and integrations with other clinical systems, but they also optimize operational efficiencies and compliance across various trials, regardless of the size of the research organization, the therapeutic area, or the study stakeholders they are working with. 

Slope demonstrated how its clinical trial execution platform revolutionizes sample management through lab manual digitization.

Slope’s Chief Clinical Officer, Hope Meely, gave a presentation at DPHARM about transforming clinical trial biospecimen processing by turning the lab manual into software-guided workflows. Hope opened the discussion by highlighting the hurdles that sites face when executing biospecimen management — from complicated logistics to study amendments. She also highlighted the ways in which manual, error-prone processes jeopardize compliant and accurate sample data, before segueing into a discussion about how digitizing the lab manual can transform existing site operations by driving efficient and compliant study execution. 

Slope’s DPHARM presentation was the culmination of several themes that were pervasive over the course of the three-day conference. From highlighting the need for digital transformation, to emphasizing site-centricity in clinical trial execution, DPHARM speakers and attendees made it clear that they are seeking innovative solutions that upend the status quo of clinical research. Slope’s clinical trial execution platform offers a groundbreaking framework that enables sites to accurately and efficiently manage their clinical inventory and patient samples, while providing sponsors with real-time data and oversight.

To learn more about how Slope can transform your trials, request a free demo by clicking here

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