4 Tactics to Encourage Your CRAs and Sites to Adopt Remote Site Monitoring


Exploring effective strategies for sponsors and CROs to ensure both their CRAs and sites are supported for high levels of site acceptance and streamlined remote monitoring.

As a sponsor interested in investing in a remote site monitoring platform in clinical trials, it is important to determine how you will support your Clinical Research Associates (CRAs) during and after the transition.

CRAs are the main personnel who will be engaging daily with the remote monitoring platform and with the sites conducting the clinical trial. If sites refuse to implement the new technology due to faulty remote monitoring and implementation strategies, your CRAs will be burdened with low site adoption rates and disjointed processes.

Ultimately, setting up your CRAs and sites for success will play a big part in whether your remote monitoring technology produces the process efficiencies you expect.

There are certain strategies that are exceedingly effective for sponsors and CROs to ensure both their CRAs and sites are supported for high levels of site acceptance and streamlined remote monitoring.

While it’s usually in the site’s best interests for time and accessibility, sites can still be hesitant to alter their internal workflows to accommodate this type of change, especially after navigating the unique challenges of 2020. Below are the top four tips for CRAs and sites that every sponsor and CRO needs to know before implementing a remote site monitoring strategy in clinical trials in order to foster success.

1. Do not launch without communicating to internal and external teams first.

You most likely decided to implement a remote site monitoring technology to hit specific goals, reduce bottlenecks and improve processes. Communicating your reasoning and plan to both monitors and sites allows them to become partners in the transition process rather than feeling forced to adopt new processes they haven’t agreed to implement.

No site or CRA wants to be forced to change their workflows. Getting your sites and CRAs on board by appealing to their interests, like time savings and real-time insights, will help increase site adoption rates and improve the site-sponsor relationship.

Some questions to cover in your communication with sites and CRAs:

  • What changes are you making to your internal process that the sites should be aware of?
  • What can they expect from using this tool?
  • How will your teams be using the new functionality?

Find additional tips for site communications and remote site access rollout plans here.

2. Do train all individuals who will be utilizing the technology.

Believe it or not, some sponsors and CROs who purchase remote monitoring tools fail to familiarize their CRAs with the new digital workflow. This lack of training can cause monitors to push back or refuse to use the software when the time comes for their site visit. Monitor push back is frustrating for sites and removes the incentive for them to put in the work to set up this new workflow.

Be sure all CRAs and site teams complete training specific to how they will be using the tool. Your vendor should support you and facilitate this process so all stakeholders can hit the ground running when your new technology goes live.

3. Do not force sites to cover remote monitoring costs.

Sites are already hesitant to take on new administrative costs for fear it will be an expense they cannot recoup. Expecting sites to financially support your remote monitoring strategy adds additional resistance to adopting your new plan.

As the sponsor, remote monitoring will offset your traditional costs of CRA travel and therefore you should strongly consider fronting the bill.

In fact, costs of digital workflows are cited as the number one reason sites do NOT participate. Remove that blocker, and adoption will skyrocket – making your and your CRAs lives much easier.

4. Do work together before, during and after the technology transition.

Your new remote monitoring platform will change your CRAs and site workflows. Give both parties the opportunity to weigh in on how they want this functionality to work. They will be the users in the tool day-in and day-out so having their input will help build a more effective strategy for implementation and process management.

This small strategy shift can go a long way in increasing site adoption and stakeholder satisfaction when rolling out your new remote monitoring platform.

Overall, sites and CRAs want to utilize this technology as much as the sponsor/CRO decision makers who decided to purchase it. Roadblocks to site adoption and streamlined processes arise when sponsors and CROs do not communicate their plan or include the voice of both internal and external stakeholders in the technology rollout.

Sites should never have to convince monitors to use the technology, but rather the two groups should work together to determine the workflows that are most appropriate to the CRA, site and study needs.

Lauren Martin is the Director of Customer Experience for Florence Healthcare.

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