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Study Support Service: National improvement plan for industry update

Date: 03 May 2019

The NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) helps the life sciences industry plan, setup and deliver high quality research to time and target in the NHS in England and, since 1 July 2016 this has been under the nation-wide responsibility of the CRN’s Study Support Service.

During 2017, feedback was gathered from our industry colleagues and a need to revisit these services was identified. In response to this, the CRN developed a national improvement plan for the delivery of the Study Support Service for commercial contract studies.

The overall objective of this project was to achieve greater customer satisfaction with respect to the delivery of the Study Support Service and three key workstreams were identified and taken forward in the 2018/19 financial year.

These workstreams were Stakeholder Engagement, Effective Study Set-up and Performance Monitoring and workstream leads from our local and national teams have been collaborating with colleagues from the CRN and life sciences industry to take these areas forward. We are now keen to share the outputs of this hard work with you all.

Further detail on the improvements that each workstream has brought can be found below.

Stakeholder engagement

The team have developed a Communication Strategy and an interactive route map for Industry, which includes an industry guide written for industry by industry. We are now in a refinement phase, with feedback being encouraged via this form.  Please let us know what you think and what else you would like to see in the route map.

Effective study set up

A new service is now available to customers with the offer of a study start-up call to discuss the study and any challenges which may be present during the set-up and delivery of the study in the UK. The outcome of the call is then shared with study sites to overcome any delivery challenges identified and support overall study delivery to time and target. This call is an opportunity for customers to learn more about the CRN Study Support Service and to ask any questions you may have.

This new service has been launched and is offered when submitting a new study feasibility to the Network.

Performance monitoring

Our improved Performance Monitoring process highlights the study milestone schedule as being a key document as part of this process, as well as refining the responsibilities of a Performance Review Lead for a study. Companies can benefit from expertise leading on their study from colleagues across the Network to enable delivery to time and target.

So, what's next for the improvement plan?

As well as continuing to refine our new and improved processes, we will be working on establishing a Network Champions programme; targeting key companies and enhancing our relationships to work better together.

Work has already started on a target setting workstream for 2019/20 and the Industry RoadMap Group will be involved in helping to set the direction of the programme in the next meeting on 8 May, so we hope to update you soon as to the next workstreams that will be prioritised.

  • Summary:
    Find out about the first phase of a programme of activities to improve the delivery of the NIHR CRN Study Support Service for the life sciences industry.
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