QuickBase is a central component of who we are. Our results have been outstanding.
Hunter Walker, Chief Technology Officer
Managing clinical trials for the biotech and pharmaceutical industries requires a high degree of coordination and compliance. Smaller contract research organizations (CROs) typically struggle with a dizzying volume of spreadsheets, emails, and documents to keep trials moving forward and clients up to date. At Atlantic Research Group, however, a Clinical Trials Management System (CTMS) built entirely with QuickBase has enabled the company to meet a high standard of efficiency, compliance, and service to its clients.
Atlantic Research Group (ARG) launched in 2004 with a mission to serve innovators in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Founders Paul Bishop and Lyle Camblos had worked for large contract research organizations (CROs) and knew they could better serve the smaller biotech and pharma companies that drive the most exciting research.
As the company grew (it currently employs 35 people), the limitations of managing trials with spreadsheets and Microsoft Word documents became readily apparent. Spreadsheets were limited to one user at a time, and managing appropriate access to them was nearly impossible. And multiple revisions of Word documents sent by email bogged down key processes.
Larger CROs typically use dedicated Clinical Trial Management Systems (CTMS), but those solutions are typically expensive and difficult to customize — not a good fit for smaller organizations.
In 2006, ARG hired Hunter Walker to come up with a better way. Walker had previous experience with QuickBase, and saw the benefits of building a flexible, scalable solution in the cloud with no coding required. In just two weeks, he built the beginnings of the clinical trial management solution the company still relies on today.
“QuickBase is a central component of who we are. Our results have been outstanding,” says Walker, CTO of ARG.
Clinical trials typically last for 1–2 years, and CROs are responsible for not only recruiting doctors and patients, but also ensuring that all data collected during the trials is clean and accurate. Early on, ARG managed trials with standard office productivity tools. Project managers updated spreadsheets and clinical research associates (CRAs) submitted trial data by emailing Microsoft Word documents for review.
That changed with the launch of TrialVista, ARG’s trial management solution powered by QuickBase. Now, project managers keep tabs on project progress via the cloud-based app, and automated notifications ensure that key activities are assigned at the right time. CRAs conduct interviews from doctors’ offices and hospitals and enter the data directly into a QuickBase form from any web-enabled device. That data is then reviewed by another team, and changes can be requested and completed within the app itself. This saves critical time that was once wasted with email attachments and constant revisions.
“QuickBase enforces that entire workflow for us with built-in logic and role management,” says Walker.
CRA schedules are also managed from QuickBase, so ARG knows which doctors they are scheduled to visit and when.
Because compliance is also critical, ARG licensed a tool called QB Documentor from QuickBase Solution Provider Juiced Technologies. The tool captures and provides documentation on app-related data, including which users made changes to fields and when. Having these reports on hand is key to managing compliance audits.
Because TrialVista is cloud-based, ARG is able to share information with its clients in ways it could not before. After building out a customized trial management app for a client, ARG can specify a user role that gives the client read-only access to key data, such as project timelines. In this way ARG assures that trial data remains secure but clients have self-service capability to get the information they need. Overall, Walker says, the results of running and managing clinical trials in QuickBase have been overwhelmingly positive.
“We wanted a solution we could manage ourselves and not rely on a vendor to customize it to suit our needs. QuickBase has been a 10 out of 10 for us,” says Walker.