Perceived barriers and facilitators to Risk Based Monitoring in academic-led clinical trials: a mixed methods study.12 Sep 2017
BACKGROUND: In November 2016, the ICH published a requirement for sponsors to develop a systematic, prioritised, risk-based approach to monitoring clinical trials. This approach is more commonly known as risk-based monitoring (RBM). However, recent evidence suggests that a 'gold standard', validated approach to RBM does not exist and it is unclear how sponsors will introduce RBM into their organisations. A first step needed to inform the implementation of RBM is to explore academic trialists' readiness and ability to perform RBM. The aim of this paper is to identify the attitudes and perceived barriers and facilitators to the implementation of RBM in academic-led clinical trials in Ireland. METHODS: This is a mixed-methods, explanatory sequential design, with quantitative survey followed by semistructured interviews. Academic clinical researchers (N = 132) working in Ireland were surveyed to examine their use and perceptions of RBM. A purposive sample of survey participants (n = 22) were then interviewed to gain greater insight into the quantitative findings. The survey and interview data were merged to generate a list of perceived barriers and facilitators to RBM implementation, with suggestions for, and solutions to, these issues. RESULTS: Survey response rate was 49% (132/273). Thirteen percent (n = 18) of responders were not familiar with the term risk-based monitoring and less than a quarter of respondents (21%, n = 28) had performed RBM in a clinical trial. Barriers to RBM implementation included lack of RBM knowledge/training, increased costs caused by greater IT demands, increased workload for trial staff and lack of evidence to support RBM as an effective monitoring approach. Facilitators included participants' legal obligation to perform RBM under the new ICH-GCP guidelines, availability of RBM guidance and perception of cost savings by performing RBM in future trials. CONCLUSION: The results of this study demonstrate a need for training and regulatory-endorsed guidelines to support the implementation of RBM in academic-led clinical trials. The study provides valuable insights to inform interventions and strategies by policy-makers and clinical trial regulators to improve RBM uptake.