Work smarter, not harder in clinical trials: risk-based monitoring (RBM)
There is a lot of interest in risk-based monitoring (RBM) of clinical trials, and it’s easy to understand why. Monitoring activities can account for 25-30% of the cost of a clinical trial, so any efficiencies to be gained can come at substantial savings for the trial sponsor. ICH Guideline E6 states that the “sponsor should ensure trials are adequately monitored.”
But why are clinical trials monitored in the first place? There are several reasons: to ensure that clinicians are carrying out the trial according to the protocol, that the data has limited errors and is of high-quality for analysis, and above all else, to protect the well-being of the clinical trial participants.
Traditional interpretation of the ICH Guidance has often led to 100% source data verification (SDV) of respective case report forms through onsite monitoring. Such monitoring activities can also identify deficiencies in site training and uncover fraudulent behavior. However, such extensive onsite review has several drawbacks:
Expensive (Eisenstein et al., 2005; Funning et al., 2009; Tantsyura et al., 2010)
Time-consuming, with effort spent on data of little importance to the goals of the trial
Error prone (Tantsyura et al., 2010)
Limited in scope (difficult to compare data across pages, participants and sites)
In contrast, RBM makes use of central computerized review of clinical trial data and site metrics to determine if sites should receive more extensive quality review through on-site monitoring visits.
We have heard the call. Recently-released JMP Clinical 4.1 has incorporated several tools to help identify potentially fraudulent activities within a clinical trial, and we are currently in the active development of an RBM platform to monitor ongoing studies for Version 5.0 (Figure 1). These tools will be extremely flexible, allowing users to take advantage of their CDISC-formatted data and other available site-metrics, and define and vary risk thresholds that are appropriate to the current trial. All of this power and flexibility is contained within the visually striking and interactive framework expected from JMP Clinical.
Figure 1. Risk-Based Monitoring Views of JMP Clinical