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September 24, 2020

5 Questions You Never Ask Your RTSM Vendor, But Should

Most of us learned the hard way that you can’t do the same thing over and over again and expect different results. The same goes for any predefined vendor selection process. If you are looking for innovation and better results for your trial, the selection process itself should ensure that the vendor shares the same vision.

The next time you are deciding between one or more RTSM vendors, challenge yourself to think outside the box. The questions below will get you started. Then see what else you can come up with!

1. Can I try it before I buy it?

An RTSM is responsible for critical functions with direct patient impact. The decision to choose an RTSM should not be taken lightly, it is certainly not an impulse buy. It is not unreasonable, then, to ask the vendor if they can get a preview of how the system may work. In fact, ask your vendor if they can give you access to a sandbox environment. That way all the stakeholders that are involved in the RTSM decision, and study execution, can weigh in. 

2. Can I approve the RTSM itself rather than the complex specification document?

Clinical trial professionals should not have to be technical experts. They should be spending their time operationalizing their study. So why are they responsible for signing off on lengthy, complex specification documents and crossing their fingers that nothing is lost in translation? Ask your RTSM vendor if you can approve the system itself, not the specification document. That way, there will be no surprises as you start UAT and no risk to meeting your FPI timelines.

3. What is the total cost of ownership of this system from build to study close?


Unfortunately, a pretty common experience after study build is being changed ordered to death. In that instance, the original cost of the build is no indication of the total cost of ownership for the RTSM through study close. Change is expected, and as studies become increasingly complex it has become the norm. What doesn’t have to be is the norm is the administrative burden or ballooning trial costs from changes to the RTSM. Ask your vendor to walk you through the total cost of ownership. You may just find that modern RTSM providers don’t charge for the majority of change orders due to system configurability, providing you with a clearer picture of your financials.

4. Have you gathered direct site feedback on the UI and its ability to help, not hinder their daily workflow?

Clinical sites are the main end-users of the RTSM and yet chances are they are not given the opportunity to weigh in on the usability of the system. Asking your vendor this question can help you decide on a vendor that truly cares about site satisfaction which can go a long way to improve the conduct of your trial.

5. Is the client always right?

I promise this is not a trick question, but it is an important one. Do you want to work with an RTSM vendor that will give you exactly what you want no questions asked? Or, would you prefer a partner that not only can help advise on design choices based on experience but can create innovative solutions to solve your complex trial challenges?


Tag(s): Study Start-Up

Amy Ripston

Amy Ripston, 4G Clinical Vice President of Marketing, has over 20 years of B2B experience, of which she spent 9 years in the bio/pharmaceutical industry. Amy has a knack for identifying market trends, synthesizing content, engaging thought leaders, and connecting businesses with innovative solutions.

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