Category: eDOCS

25 Aug 2017

A mobile app that makes everything simple

As a clinical researcher, being at your desk to take care of study documentation, patient referrals and everything else that goes into managing your studies can be difficult and time-consuming.  That’s why our team has created a mobile app that lets you access all your files, contacts, patient referrals, and inclusion/exclusion criteria on the go.  RealTime-eDOCS has become an industry-leading eRegulatory system that streamlines the way sites, sponsors and CROs manage regulatory documents.

If you are a current RealTime user, you know how intuitive and user-friendly our solutions are. Our eDOCS mobile app is no exception! The eDOCS app is tailored to meet the needs of clinical research sites, staff and doctors.

Before the eDOCS mobile app, you would have to wait to get to your office in the morning to refer patients, sign documents, request signatures, manage contacts, and navigate your regulatory files.

Now with the eDOCS mobile app, all the information you need is at your fingertips!  Anytime, anywhere, you can review all regulatory documents for your studies, sign important documents with your fingerprint, refer patients into studies, access important staff and study contacts and more right from you tablet or phone.  No other eRegulatory system has this capability!  Whether you are moving to eRegulatory, or already using an eRegulatory system, make the move to eDOCS to maximize efficiency and cost savings.

What can the eDOCS mobile app do for you?

  • Manage signature requests on the go by receiving and sending notifications. The app allows you to quickly view or search your signature requests.
  • Instantly sign documents with fingerprint technology.
  • Refer patients to your CTMS, which will increase the number of referrals from your doctors and boost your recruitment efforts.
  • Navigate eRegulatory files.
  • Quickly access your study and staff contacts.

Call RealTime today for a demo of our eDOCS system and the mobile app.  See the future of eRegulatory being led by RealTime!  Click here to schedule a demo or call us at (210) 852 – 4310.

By the way, if you are an eDOCS or eDOCS LITE user, find the app on Google Play or the App Store.

14 Aug 2017

RealTime is Changing the CTMS Industry with First-of-its-Kind New App

Research sites can now access popular eDOCS solution on mobile device with new app

SAN ANTONIO—Want to access site eRegulatory files, sign documents with your thumb print, refer a patient to a study or look up site and sponsor contacts all on your mobile device? There’s an app for that!

RealTime-CTMS launched the first-of-its-kind new app this week that allows site staff to use its popular eDOCS solution from an iOS or Android device.

“No other CTMS or eRegulatory system has mobile capabilities like we do,” says RealTime-CTMS CEO, Rick Greenfield. “The ease at which sites can access pertinent information including inclusion and exclusion information, sign documents using finger print technology and even refer patients directly into the CTMS system can’t be matched.”

eDOCS is a cutting-edge system that can be fully integrated with RealTime-CTMS or used as a stand-alone system. The solution enables sites to go fully digital, eliminating messy regulatory binders and paper work. eDOCS has already made a splash in the clinical research world and with the release of the app, industry leaders are expecting the solution to continue to grow in popularity.

“Everything is going mobile, even the clinical trial industry,” says Greenfield. “With the tap of a button on your mobile device, sites now have instant access to information that would otherwise have to be found in bulky binders and loads of paperwork.”

Some features of the new app include the ability for investigators to sign documents using iOS and Android finger print technologies, easy access to site and sponsor contacts on the go and push notifications that alert investigative staff that requests for signatures are pending. The app also allows site staff to refer a patient into a study and instantly access protocol and study information.

“We are very excited about the launch of our app and believe it will greatly increase efficiency and success across our sites,” says Greenfield.

For more information on eDOCS mobile, download the app at the App Store or on Google Play.

About RealTime-CTMS

RealTime Software Solutions, LLC is located in San Antonio, TX and is a leader in database-driven, cloud-based clinical research software solutions. Our focus is on research sites and our goal is to solve problems and provide systems that make the sites more efficient and more profitable. We are constantly listening to our customers to provide new innovations that improve performance and help sites achieve their goals.

28 Apr 2017

eRegulatory – A Change Worth Making

Let’s face it, change is hard. You get used to the way you’ve always done things and when someone talks about doing something different, you’re like a deer caught in headlights.

If you’re working at a clinical research site and have always used paper regulatory documents, changing to an electronic document solution may seem overwhelming and a bit scary.

But like Sheryl Crow said, “A change would do you good!”

In all seriousness though, there are some significant benefits of switching to an electronic document solution like RealTime-eDOCS. Sites that have made the switch are loving the user-friendly interface and ease of accessing eRegulatory documents all in one centralized location.

If your site is considering making the switch, read on to learn more about the benefits to your site.

1. Save time and money. We all love saving money and who doesn’t like to save a little time? Electronic documents eliminate the need for printing, filing, scanning and mailing as well as the need for storage space for bulky regulatory binders.
2. Remote monitoring. With an electronic document system, users can access and manage regulatory records remotely reducing the need for sponsor travel between sites. Best of all, documents are available with the click of a button anytime, anywhere!
3. Increase efficiency. From electronic signatures, the ability to set expiration dates for CVs, licenses and certification and the ease of accessing all documents in one centralized place to improved collaboration between investigators and sponsors, an electronic document solution increases efficiency from all angles.

Going paperless doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you’re already a RealTime customer, eDOCS is a fully-integrated solution that can be implemented quickly. If you are using another CTMS or don’t currently have a management system, eDOCS can be used as a stand-alone system!

Call us today to schedule a demo!

04 Oct 2016
realtime edocs outlook RealTime-CTMS Clinical Trial Management System

RealTime-eDOCS Now Integrates with Outlook!

Our industry-leading eRegulatory system just got better!  RealTime has built a custom Outlook add-in that integrates RealTime-eDOCS with your Outlook email.   RealTime-eDOCS customers now find it easier than ever to manage records and electronic signatures without leaving their email.

Game-changing features include:

Upload Emails and Attachments from Outlook to eDOCS
Quickly upload files from your email directly to your eDOCS system.  With our user-friendly Outlook interface, uploading files without leaving your email will save time.

Sign Records and Request Signatures Without Leaving Your Email
It’s now easier than ever to obtain signatures from staff and doctors. Upload your record from Outlook into eDOCS and request electronic signatures at the same time.  Once a signature request appears in your Outlook inbox, you can easily view and sign records straight from your Outlook email!

Automated Signature Tracking
Automated color-coding allows users to quickly categorize emails to easily separate pending signatures from completed signatures when navigating their inbox.

RealTime-eDOCS is changing the way that sites manage regulatory documents in clinical research. Learn more about RealTime-eDOCS on our website or contact us directly for a live online demo.

23 Sep 2016
Webinar RealTime-CTMS Clinical Trial Management System

Webinar Q&A From RealTime’s Product Manager Nathan Levens

Did you catch our webinar hosted by ClinEdge, “e-Regulatory Systems – Connecting Sites and Sponsors in a Whole New Way” from August? If not you can watch the recording here.

Nathan Levens answered several great questions during the webinar and received additional questions after the webinar ended.  Below are some additional questions addressed after the webinar.

Q: Where does the “original” ink signature end up? 

With Part 11 compliant electronic signatures, wet-ink signatures are no longer needed since the record can be signed electronically. Electronic signatures will create enormous efficiencies for your site. However, in the event that you do have a paper document with an original wet-ink signature, our system (RealTime-eDOCS) will allow you to scan that document as a certified copy. According to the FDA, certified copies are completely acceptable during an inspection or audit; therefore, your original wet-ink document can be destroyed. What you decide to do with your original paper document once it’s scanned and saved within eDOCS is up to your site’s standard process. The key is to establish a written SOP describing your process so that it’s clear to your sponsors and the FDA. While the most efficient process is to shred/destroy the document immediately after saving the certified copy, some sites decide to hold onto the wet-ink signatures and store them for a set time frame (e.g., 6 months down the road) or indefinitely. Simply do what’s best for your site.

Q: What is the percentage of sponsor’s/CRO’s that will allow sites to use eDOCs?

Your approach will greatly affect the number of sponsors/CROs that will share in the benefits of using eDOCS. Our experience has been that the sites that approach the utilization of eDOCS as a standard operating process within their organization are most successful. Since sites have every right to adopt an electronic system for their regulatory management, it’s important not to ask permission but simply let the sponsor/CRO know that this is the site’s uniform process.

To give you an example, one of our eDOCS customers who operates two successful sites has been utilizing an eRegulatory solution on 100% of their studies for greater than 18 months now. They have not lost a single study as a result their mandatory eRegulatory process.

To give you second example, another one of our sites is asking for permission to use their eRegulatory solution at the pre-study visit. By asking for permission, this give’s sponsors/CROs control over site processes. As you can guess, this strategy is far less effective and this site has received more push-back from sponsors/CROs.

It is important for sites to have a consistent and uniform process across all of their studies to ensure quality and compliance. The FDA paved the way for electronic systems to accelerate efficiency in our industry. It is not the sponsor’s place to dictate what systems sites should use for their site files as long as they meet FDA regulations. Further, sponsors often don’t understand the great benefits that come from utilizing these systems (i.e., remote access and monitoring, query tracking, increased collaboration, streamlined document review, etc.)

Sites around the world are already utilizing eRegulatory systems with great success and on 100% of their studies and this highly depends on the site’s approach.

Q: Can you give guidance on what to do when facing a sponsor who does not want to use a site because they use eReg

Please refer to the question above and develop a strategy. In the worst case scenario (less than 5%), the site can simply go with paper binders for that study; however, hopefully both you and the sponsor understand that this is a more costly way to go for both parties and will create inefficiencies by deviating from your standard process. Since you are stuck using paper in this scenario, nobody wins, including the sponsor, but at least you can keep business moving forward. Usually if a sponsor is not open to an eRegulatory system, it’s because they are not familiar with the benefits of the system to both parties; therefore, a strategy for articulating these benefits may change the sponsor’s mind. It’s good to ask them for the reasoning behind their decision against your eRegulatory system and lay out the benefits everyone will experience. From our observation, successful sites are those that engage the sponsor in meaningful conversation about why the site needs to use eDOCS to streamline processes for both the investigator and the monitor. During this conversation, sites can address the sponsor’s concerns and obtain buy-in. You can even offer to give the monitor a quick tour of the system so they can see the benefits it will bring. As a last ditch effort before deciding to go with paper, offer the sponsor a trial run to start the study electronic and mention that if they don’t like it for some reason then the site can quickly go back to paper. From our experience, showing sponsors the eDOCS monitor portal really helps obtain buy-in because it helps them visualize how the system will streamline their monitoring duties. The point is to try everything you can to give your sponsor a chance to get on board before resorting to paper. At the end of the day, eRegulatory systems will save the site and monitor valuable time which allows the research team to focus more on recruiting subjects and conducting visits, and allows the monitor more time to focus on subject data review, site training, and managing study resources. Everyone wins when sites make the shift to eRegulatory, but some sponsors need to be educated on this fact.

Q: Who needs to start the process? Do sites request from the sponsors?

Site-based eRegulatory systems reside at the site and the site starts the process of creating an eRegulatory binder and managing investigator records. All regulatory records that are received from the sponsor/IRB are uploaded to eDOCS by the site user rather than printing and filing into a paper binder. This eliminates the need for paper binders to manage the investigator site file. Once records are uploaded in the system, the site will issue web-portal access to monitors, auditors and FDA inspectors upon request to review the records.

Q: We are always at the mercy of what the sponsor wants. In our experience (we did a pre-test), sponsors do not want an “additional” system, and many of them require their system/portal. This is what seems daunting. I agree the problem should be solved at the site but what are others’ experiences in this? Sponsor requirements do not allow us to jump in with both feet.

Being “at the mercy” of the sponsor is a common feeling for research sites and I completely understand the frustration. Please know that while this is common, not all sites feel this way about their sponsors. The fact that some sites do not feel like they are at the mercy of sponsors shows that there is a way out of this trap and sites can absolutely take back control of their processes. This doesn’t mean that these sites never compromise with the sponsor, but it does mean that they fight diligently for processes that benefit their organization.

Furthermore, when a sponsor says that they do not want an “additional” system, it sounds like the sponsor doesn’t understand that a site-based eRegulatory system actually compliments their existing eTMF system/portal. This is a common misunderstanding by sponsors. From the webinar, I discussed that most sites still use the legacy system (paper-based binders) and upload copies of these paper records to sponsor systems/portals. What a site-based eRegulatory system does is replace the paper records with electronic records at the site. This allows sites to easily share the electronic files with sponsor systems/portals. Also, the monitor has the ability to download records straight from the site’s eRegulatory system to upload into their sponsor system. Nothing changes for the sponsor when a site uses a site-based eRegulatory system except the fact that they now have remote access to the records from anywhere with an internet connection. I have encountered this common misunderstanding when talking to sponsors at industry conferences. They ask, “Why do sites need eRegulatory systems when we already have an eTMF (electronic trial master file) portal that we provide to them?” The simple answer is that eTMFs are great for sponsors but do nothing to solve issues at the site-level. Sites are still having to find solutions to the paper-based investigator site files and a site-based eRegulatory system will provide these solutions.

Q: What should sites look for when evaluating eRegulatory systems?

The following are some items to keep in mind when shopping for a Part 11 compliant, site-based eRegulatory system; however, what matters the most is that the system truly streamlines your regulatory processes.

Check that the system truly reduces redundant filing for your site. Some systems don’t have a central location for common files and users still have to file the same records across multiple studies (i.e., CVs, GCP Training, etc.).

Ensure that the eSignature system is easy to use. Users should only be one or two computer clicks away from requesting signatures and/or signing a record.  The process should be intuitive and quick.

Monitors should have a way to track what they have reviewed within the monitor portal and be able to issue queries to communicate to the staff. This creates a lot of efficiency for your monitors and staff.  Plus monitors will be blown away at how the system makes their job easier.

Users should be able to customize their folder set up in their eRegulatory binders. This allows the site to create their own standard filing system and table of contents that works best for them.  Have a standard filing system will create tremendous efficiency over time.

In regards to signing an agreement with an eRegulatory vendor. Some vendors will make you agree to buy a set amount of studies (about 5-10) up front which locks you into the system.  If that system doesn’t work for you after trying it out, then you will still be locked in the agreement and owe money.  Beware of contract that lock you into a trap.

One last thing is to ensure that the system has an Outlook integration feature. This will streamline your record management processes because users can categorize records, upload files, and sign records electronically without leaving their email inbox.

Q: Are sponsors paying for site-based eRegulatory systems?

As an eRegulatory system does represent an additional overhead cost, many sponsors are willing to consider providing additional compensation to help cover the cost of the system.  Many sponsors do this knowing that the eRegulatory system will also provide efficiency and cost savings to them through streamlined monitoring processes and remote access to site files.  This additional compensation can be provided as a specific line item, increasing start-up/closeout fees, or even an increase in the budget overhead percentage.

However, even if the sponsor is not willing to provide additional compensation, this shouldn’t be a determining factor when deciding to adopt a site-based eRegulatory system for a number of reasons.  As I mentioned in the webinar, there are numerous hard costs and soft costs associated with paper-based regulatory processes that end up costing sites far more than the cost of an eRegulatory system.  Also, the opportunity costs are extremely high!  By streamlining your regulatory processes, your staff will be able to manage more studies from a regulatory perspective, plus your staff will gain more time to recruit participants and conduct study visits to generate more revenue for the site.  Also, if your staff is spending less time on shuffling paper records, they will have more time to focus on subject safety and adverse event follow up to maintain subject safety.

As a side note, most sites are either increasing their overhead charge or archiving fees for each study to accommodate the new system if they want to ensure some reimbursement for their eRegulatory system.  If the site’s overhead charge or archive fees are already relatively high and cannot be increased, then know that your new eRegulatory system is still streamlining your regulatory processes and decreasing your actual overhead over time and greatly reducing your need for physical archiving fees.

If you are interested in learning more about adopting an eRegulatory system to streamline your site’s regulatory processes, check out our industry leading product, RealTime-eDOCS™.  We have the system features and industry experience that will take your site to the next level in efficiency.

21 Jul 2016
eDocs-Lite RealTime-CTMS Clinical Trial Management Systems

RealTime Software Solutions, LLC Announces the Release of eDOCS-LITE as a Standard Feature for All Existing and New RealTime-CTMS Customers.

RealTime announces the release of eDOCS-LITE. This CTMS-integrated eDocument platform will provide a part-11 compliant document management system for sites. eDOCS-LITE is a free version of eDOCS that will have many of the great features of the full version of RealTime-eDOCS such as a Professional, Education and Training Tracking (PETT) system, an upgraded document management system, electronic signatures, complete audit trails, version control, study and subject document storage, and more. For the first time ever, sites can now have all of the features of a robust CTMS combined with an efficient document management system in a single, integrated platform. With a simple upgrade from eDOCS-LITE, customers can also enable the complete eRegulatory management system, RealTime-eDOCS, which has even more features and storage capacity to go completely paperless with regulator binders. Now, all in a single system, customers can have CTMS, PAY, TEXT, and eDOCS-Lite or eDOCS.

RealTime prides itself on bringing the most useful software solutions to the research industry. With intuitive interfaces and feature-rich designs, RealTime has exploded onto the clinical research market. New innovations are also on the way, including RealTime-GlobalPAY for stipend and travel reimbursement management at the Sponsor and CRO level. Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter for updates on new innovations that help shape the industry.

About RealTime Software Solutions:
RealTime Software Solutions, LLC is located in San Antonio, TX and is a leader in database-driven, cloud-based software solutions. Our focus in on research sites and our goal is to solve problems and provide systems that make the sites more efficient and more profitable. We are constantly listening to our customers to provide new innovations that improve performance and help sites achieve their goals.


RealTime Software Solutions, LLC
Rick Greenfield, 210-852-4210

07 Jun 2016
Paradigm Shift RealTime-CTMS Clinical Trial Management Systems

A New Paradigm for Adopting Technology in Clinical Research

Traditionally, the clinical research industry has utilized a top-down model when adopting new technology.  In this model, sponsors and contract research organizations (CROs) have been seen as the innovators in the industry by adopting new technology and pushing that technology down to research sites for collection of records and data.  Instead of surfing the wave of technology that’s hitting the research industry, research sites have been spectators as the sponsors and CROs have all the fun.   This model has been both good and bad for the industry.  While some new technology is best implemented from the top-down, this model has created more efficiency for sponsors and CROs than it has for investigator sites, specifically when it comes to electronic regulatory systems.  These well-intended systems seem to focus more on what is easiest for sponsors and CROs to receive their records from sites and less on what will be most efficient for investigators to actually collect and maintain those records on-site.  The main end-users of this technology, investigator staff, seem to be left out of the equation.

To truly increase efficiency in the clinical research industry, it’s time that the industry opens up more to a bottom-up model of adopting technology.  In this approach, research sites are able to compliment certain sponsor/CRO technologies by adopting their own standard electronic systems (e.g., eRegulatory).  This approach allows investigator sites to reduce their workload while making records easily accessible by sponsors/CROs.   While the top-down approach for adopting technology has helped our industry advance in numerous ways, research sites also desire to be innovators.   Most importantly, research sites want to adopt technology that streamlines their own company processes and increases their viability as a business.  After all, an efficient and profitable site will produce better quality research data, increase their ability to monitor subject safety, and ensure its ability to thrive and continue to serve the advancement of medicine.  When sites adopt site-centric technology and take control of their own company processes, the sponsor, CRO, investigator, study participants, and society as a whole all win in the process.

Electronic regulatory systems from the top-down model typically lack key features that are needed to reduce the workload for research sites.  In fact, these systems most likely add additional workload and increase redundant filing since sites still have to file mounds of paper records to maintain a complete investigator site file.  Upon further inspection, these top-down systems typically limit the amount of users that a site can have which limits collaboration within the research site.  These systems also routinely lack electronic signatures and centralized filing for common records.  On top of these issues, sites are being asked to complete lengthy training sessions on multiple systems with several sponsors which leads to a laundry list of usernames and passwords to memorize and a variety of filing processes to follow.

All of these issues, and more, can be resolved with site-centric technology.  With our experience implementing RealTime-eDOCS™ with our customers, many sponsors and CROs are already leading the way on this issue by fully engaging with innovative sites that adopt their own regulatory document management system.  With the right eRegulatory system, sponsors realize that they gain as much benefit as the research site.  Site-centric technology shouldn’t be feared by sponsors or CROs but should be embraced.

At RealTime Software Solutions, LLC we are actively pushing for a bottom-up approach to solve issues that research sites face every day while also improving relationships between sites, sponsors and CROs.  The top-down model is very dominant in our industry but RealTime’s affordable solutions are now changing the paradigm and giving research sites the technology they need to regain control of their process and improve the research industry.


23 May 2016
Data management RealTime-CTMS Clinical Trial Management Systems

Ten Great Reasons for Research Sites to Adopt a Site-centric Electronic Regulatory System

With high overhead and low profit margins for research sites, it’s vital to streamline processes and reduce the workload associated with maintaining regulatory compliance.  Sites that maintain paper regulatory binders instead of adopting an electronic system are missing out on increased efficiency, cost savings and improved regulatory compliance.  The following are reasons for sites to ditch the paper and go electronic.

The relentless regulatory burden on sites.  The regulatory burden on sites is growing but budgets with sponsors and CROs aren’t keeping up.  Paper-based regulatory processes only exacerbate the problem.  Going electronic can eliminate or reduce most of the clerical tasks associated with paper (e.g., printing/filing/scanning records, managing correspondence, preparing for audits/inspections, and reviewing documents with monitors.).  Instead of searching, scanning and emailing records to monitors, wouldn’t it be nice if monitors simply accessed critical records through a remote web-portal?

The need for improved regulatory compliance.  With compliance-ready electronic systems, sites can immediately adopt processes that improve regulatory compliance across all studies.  With the efficiency created by an eRegulatory system, sites will be audit-ready from study startup to closeout and beyond.

Standardized filing creates efficiency.  When working with multiple sponsors/CROs, each regulatory binder will have a unique way of filing paper records.  With an eRegulatory system, sites regain control of their processes to standardize their filing system and create efficiency across all studies.

Centralized filing will reduce redundant work.  Are you tired of having to file the same CV, medical license, or training record across multiple studies?  If you choose the right eRegulatory system, this task will be a thing of the past.  Simply upload the record one time and have it automatically filed across assigned studies.  The same can be achieved with site level documents, such as temperature logs and equipment calibration records.

Electronic signatures will streamline your processes.  Electronic signatures will dramatically increase efficiency for sites.  No longer do we have to hunt down wet-ink signatures from doctors and staff.  Some sites literally mail documents using “snail mail” and have to wait for the record to be mailed back to obtain signatures.  Other sites are having to drive around the city visiting various doctor offices.  Let’s stop the signature madness and go electronic to save time, money and hassle.

It’s time to eliminate Houdini records.  At some point, we’ve all had to thumb through a paper regulatory binder trying to locate a document that may or may not have been properly filed sometime within the last 1 to 100 years?  It’s very common, especially during audits and inspections, to discover paper records missing without explanation.  The great news is that electronic files don’t go missing once they have been uploaded into a Part 11 compliant eRegulatory system.

Opportunity cost can kill your business.  Let’s face it, if your staff isn’t recruiting patients for studies and conducting study visits, it’s hard to stay in business.  With the right eRegulatory system, your staff will spend less time filing records and more time generating revenue.  Even if your site utilizes dedicated regulatory staff, there is opportunity for them to easily manage more studies using an eRegulatory system.

Purchasing materials and archiving paper records is costly.  It’s not cheap purchasing paper, ink, binders, copy machines and more to keep a research site in motion.  Add up the materials, I dare you.  It’s also no small feat to box and label records to store either onsite or offsite, both of which are costly methods of long-term storage.  Every site I have worked for has literally had to round up a group of employees to stay late at work organizing and archiving paper records.  Reduce the need for materials and eliminate “late night archiving parties” with your staff by going electronic.

It’s win-win for everyone.  Electronic systems aren’t just for large sites looking to streamline processes and reduce overhead.  Small sites can realize the same benefits.  In fact, smaller sites utilizing an eRegulatory system will be much more prepared for growth as more research studies come through their pipeline.  In addition, sponsors and CROs also benefit from site-centric eRegulatory systems.  Through web-portal access, they can easily monitor records from anywhere with an internet connection, saving them time during site visits and reducing travel costs.

Paper binders are completely useless.  Paper-based regulatory binders are now useless given the technology available to research sites.  I take that back, if you stack your regulatory binders perfectly, you can create towers and walls which can be used to build forts for playtime.  Even then, you have created an extreme safety hazard and your HR department will not be happy.

It’s my belief that paper binders are the “dinosaurs” of clinical research and should remain in the past.  With our site-centric eRegulatory system, RealTime-eDOCS, it’s now easier than ever to trade these ancient paper wasting dinosaurs for an efficient electronic system.  Learn how other sites are ditching their paper regulatory binders and moving towards electronic freedom by visiting our website to learn more about RealTime-eDOCS.  Better yet, contact us for an online demo to see the system in action!

09 May 2016
FDA Part 11 Compliance Compliant

What is 21 CFR Part 11?

fda (3)With Part 11 compliant systems now available for investigator sites to streamline processes, some of us are wondering what exactly is 21 CFR Part 11 and why is it important?  Essentially, 21 CFR Part 11 regulations define the criteria under which electronic records and electronic signatures are considered trustworthy, reliable, and equivalent to paper records. Basically, Part 11 allows companies to replace any paper record or hand written signature with an electronic record/signature.

For years now, computers have made individuals more productive while eliminating costs associated with paper-based systems. It’s natural that investigator sites are now wanting to replace paper with electronic records to boost efficiency.  The truth is, every investigator site already has electronic records but most companies are so unsure of Part 11 compliance that they resort to printing paper in fear of being non-compliant with regulations.  Instead of fearing Part 11, it’s much more beneficial to embrace these regulations and realize that Part 11 compliance is not complicated.  Can you imagine a research site with a lot less paper?  Not only does Part 11 make this possible, many research sites are already leading the way to an electronic future by adopting systems that manage their regulatory documentation electronically.

While Part 11 regulations are essential and helpful, many would argue that the actual document lacks detail on implementation.  With the lack of detail, the FDA has since provided guidance documents to assist in implementation and the industry has adopted standards to ensure compliance.

There are three primary areas of 21 CFR Part 11 compliance:

1) Standard Operating Procedures – The software vendor will have about 10 or more SOPs to address their IT infrastructure. These SOPs include, but are not limited to, Data Backup, Data Security, Computer System Validation, and other aspects of computer systems that support electronic records and signatures. It’s important for research sites to explore their own IT infrastructure to ensure SOPs that maintain compliance at the site level.

2) Computer system features – There are numerous standard product features that are implemented to ensure computer system security and data integrity. These features include complete audit trails, access controls, record retention and electronic signatures.

3) Computer System Validation – Part 11 compliant systems must have documented evidence that the system does what is intended. Furthermore, users should be trained to detect when the system is not working as intended.

Through Part 11 regulations, the FDA has paved the way to an electronic future for research sites.  Adopting a Part 11 system doesn’t take an act of faith but it does require a systematic approach to compliance.  If you want to see how other sites are ditching the paper regulatory binders and moving towards electronic freedom, visit our website to learn more about RealTime-eDOCS.  Better yet, contact us for an online demo to see the system in action!

24 Mar 2016
edocs RealTime-CTMS Clinical Trial Management Systems Software

4 Steps to Standardize and Centralize your Regulatory Binders

Clinical research sites typically conduct studies with multiple sponsors/CROs.  While this is great for generating revenue for the site, it can be a major challenge to manage regulatory documents across sponsors/CROs. Filing within regulatory binders across multiple studies tends to be inconsistent and very redundant.

Adding to this issue, paper-based processes associated with regulatory binders is inefficient and very time-consuming.  At smaller sites, investigators may struggle keeping up with regulatory filing and clinical research coordinators are forced to spend terrible amounts of time performing clerical tasks (e.g., completing paperwork, printing, filing, routing forms, collecting signatures, etc.).  Most research sites would agree that this time would be better spent recruiting study subjects and conducting study visits.

realtime edocs
Great processes and electronic systems can lead to greater efficiency.

As research sites grow in size, they typically establish dedicated regulatory specialists that remove much of the regulatory burden from research coordinators and investigators.  This is a great move for sites to make but this doesn’t solve the regulatory problem.  Instead of making the regulatory process more efficient, the workload is merely shifted to another team member.  This burden dramatically limits the amount of studies that a dedicated regulatory specialist can manage.

What if sites could streamline the regulatory process, allowing investigators and research coordinators more time to dedicate to the success of their studies while also providing regulatory specialists the ability to manage additional studies?  A simple remedy is to standardize and centralize regulatory processes across studies.  This can be achieved in four steps:

  1. Create a standard table of contents (TOC) for your binders and use it across studies. Having a standard TOC will create familiarity for your staff and make filing more efficient.
  2. Create a central filing system for training and qualification records. Instead of participating in redundant filing across studies, maintain one central location to include CVs, licenses, GCP training, and other general records.  Sponsor/CRO monitors can access this central location as needed during monitor visits.
  3. Create a standard operating procedure (SOP) outlining your new process and ensure that all of the site’s regulatory SOPs are standardized across studies. Yes, sites may receive pushback from some sponsors/CROs but SOPs help keep your new process running smoothly by providing the site more ground to stand on.  It’s important to articulate the site’s processes to your monitor in a way that is easy to understand.  Ultimately, this new process is a benefit to sponsors because it increases quality and efficiency at the site while allowing the study team more time to schedule and conduct study visits to meet recruitment timelines.
  4. Adopt an eRegulatory system to create efficiencies at a higher level. A site-centric eRegulatory system, such as RealTime-eDOCS, allows sites to dramatically reduce costs associated with paper, supplies, working hours, and physical archiving.  Using electronic signatures alone can save sites countless time routing documents and gathering signatures.  To take full advantage of an eRegulatory system, it’s important for sites to adopt the entire system and move as far as they can towards being completely electronic.

With standardized processes at the site-level combined with technology, the industry is moving towards increased quality and efficiency.  With this increase, sites have the opportunity to become streamlined while ensuring the long-term viability of their business, and sponsors/CROs continue to gain access to highly dependable research sites.

By: Nathan Levens, BS – eDOCS Product Manager, RealTime Software Solutions, LLC