Investigator meetings are a critical step in the clinical trial process. When done well, they provide a unique opportunity for all those involved to pool their expertise, share insights, and drive clinical trial success.
But it’s getting harder to get everyone to attend investigator meetings and harder to keep them engaged once they’re there. Why? Because investigators, study coordinators, and site teams are tired of spending hours passively listening to uninteresting information that’s not tailored to them.
That’s where an event platform comes into play. When used to its potential, event technology can turn investigator meetings into engaging events that result in higher attendance, better training, and a more successful clinical study.
Find out how to master investigator meeting planning using compliant technology in this complete guide and give your clinical trial the best chance of success!
Why Investigator Meetings Matter
Some say that investigator meetings are simply to entice investigators to take part in clinical trials. But, in fact, well-timed and effective investigator meetings are crucial to carrying out a successful clinical trial.
If you fail to run a successful investigator meeting, you pose the risk of not training site teams and project managers effectively, which can in turn lead to protocol misunderstandings and big issues with patient safety and the integrity of reportable data.
So, what are the greatest benefits of running an effective investigator meeting with regard to clinical trial success?
Ensure site teams are on the same page
Site teams must understand a lot of information about a protocol, including patient recruitment strategies, inclusion and exclusion criteria, visit procedures, lab procedures, adverse events reporting, etc. And given that sites often take part in several clinical trials led by different sponsors at the same time, it’s key to run an investigator meeting so that all site teams are aligned from the start.
Make sure clinical trials are completed on time
If you carry out an investigator meeting early on, patient recruitment can start as soon as possible, resulting in clinical trials starting and ending on time. Especially thanks to the opportunity to share high-quality data and scientific information during these fruitful meetings.
Collect valuable data
Conducting training on essential protocol criteria in your investigator meetings and, crucially, recording this training, will enhance protocol compliance and improve data quality. Collecting data also enables you to understand individual needs and tackle issues before they present themselves during the clinical trial.
Motivate all those involved
You want all those involved in the clinical trial to feel enthusiastic about it, including medical monitors, researchers, CRAs, project managers, vendors, PIs, site coordinators, and site teams. After your investigator meeting, they should feel driven to go out and recruit patients, armed with all the information they need.
The Benefits of Effective Investigator Meeting Planning
According to a CenterWatch Monthly survey, 78% of 102 investigative sites found the overall usefulness of investigator meetings to be “Good” or “Excellent”. There’s no doubt that Investigator meetings are a necessary part of the clinical trial process. But planning an effective one can make or break its success.
Before diving into the actionable tips on how to master successful investigator meeting planning, here’s why it’s important:
- Higher attendance
- Improved engagement
- Valuable insights
- Stronger relationships between sponsors, CROs, and sites
- Shared purpose and alignment
When you invest in investigator meeting planning, you set your clinical trial up for success. Take advantage of all the tools and strategies available to make your next investigator meeting impactful and effective. The work you put in will pay off through increased productivity, cooperation, and results.
Different Types Of Investigator Meetings: In-Person, Virtual, Hybrid
When planning an investigator meeting, determining the format is key. Do you go in-person, virtual, or hybrid? Each has its pros and cons.
In-Person Investigator Meetings
Nothing beats face-to-face interaction. In-person investigator meetings allow for networking, relationship building, and spontaneous conversations that spawn new ideas, especially if you have an interactive in-person event platform. Plus, attending in person allows participants to fully immerse themselves in all the detailed information and gives them the opportunity to learn about the protocol without any distractions. However, in-person investigator meetings do require time and budget for travel and venue costs.
Virtual Investigator Meetings
Virtual investigator meetings are convenient, cost-effective and can help you reach those involved in the investigator meeting wherever they are in the world through a virtual event platform. But they can lack engagement. Live streaming and web conferencing technology enables attendees to join remotely, but staring at a screen for long periods leads to fatigue and distraction. Using interactive features like live polling, Q&A, and breakout rooms helps keep virtual participants focused and involved.
Hybrid Investigator Meetings
It is crucial for all those involved in a clinical trial to receive the same training. That’s why hosting a hybrid investigator meeting can be a good idea. A hybrid approach leverages the benefits of both in-person and virtual investigator meetings. A live audience attends in person while streaming the event online for remote attendees. Using event technology that live streams to capture both audiences, this format expands reach and boosts participation. With the right hybrid event platform, hybrid investigator meetings can achieve high engagement for all.
The investigator meeting format you choose depends on your goals and priorities. Do you want to maximize attendance and participation? Build personal connections? Keep costs low? By determining what’s most important, you can pick the approach that best fits your needs. With a comprehensive event strategy and the right technology, any type of investigator meeting can be a success.
The Biggest Challenges With Investigator Meetings
Investigator meetings play a vital role in clinical trials, serving as an occasion for all those involved to collaborate and exchange information. But, investigator meetings come with some challenges that can stop them from being as effective as they could be.
The 4 biggest challenges with traditional investigator meetings are:
- Getting everyone to attend
- Overloading attendees with information
- Unengaging content and experience
- Lack of interaction
Read on to find out how to overcome these challenges and run a successful investigator meeting.
Maximizing Attendance At Your Investigator Meetings
Understanding Your Audience
With investigator meetings, you target a specific group of healthcare professionals (HCPs): principal investigators, sub-principal investigators, and study coordinators. However, these professionals have hectic schedules. Between their clinical practices and a plethora of other commitments, making room for additional meetings can be challenging. This is especially true for seasoned principal investigators who often have to attend investigator meetings with repeated, redundant information.
The challenge? Crafting an investigator meeting that caters to the diverse backgrounds of attendees, from newcomers to seasoned principal investigators, without boring or overwhelming either group. And herein lies the conundrum: investigator meeting materials often target beginners, inadvertently sidelining experienced investigators. The repetitive cycle of attending yet another session on Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training, for example, can deter a veteran from even signing up.
Redefining Content For Relevance
The nature of investigator meetings involves the dissemination of vast amounts of intricate details, data, and statistics. The key? Prioritizing content. An impactful meeting is devoid of superfluous information, homing in instead on data crucial for the success of a clinical trial. Cutting the fluff not only saves time but ensures that attendees remain engaged and find value in the presented content.
Grappling With Attendance And Productivity Concerns
Alarming yet unsurprising, attendance rates for principal investigators often hover between 40% to 60%. These figures do not even account for the ripple effects of such meetings. For instance, the productivity costs – both for the sponsors and the investigators. Sponsors find their personnel tied up for days, leading to potential financial implications and disruptions in study timelines. From an investigator’s perspective, time spent at meetings translates to lost revenue and time away from personal commitments, causing potential resentment.
The Responsibility Of The Sponsor
The onus ultimately rests with the sponsor to design an investigator meeting worth investigators’, study coordinators’, and site teams’ time. Only then will you be able to maximize attendance at your investigator meetings. This entails a robust planning phase, fine-tuning content, and ensuring that every attendee, regardless of their role or experience, finds the investigator meeting beneficial.
Here are some top tips to boost investigator meeting attendance:
Plan A Hybrid Investigator Meeting
One of the best ways to boost event attendance is by going hybrid. By giving investigator meeting participants the choice of whether to attend in-person or remotely, you show that you are well aware of their busy schedules and are willing to compromise. Make sure you choose a convenient date and time based on both the in-person and virtual attendees. For investigators, evenings or weekends may work best. And ensure to select an accessible venue that’s both accessible to onsite attendees and remote ones. That means venues that have strong WiFi, video conference abilities, and parking.
Want to make your investigator meetings even more accessible to virtual attendees? Offer live event captioning to make sure they don’t miss out on any important information.
Use An Event Platform/App
To host a hybrid investigator meeting, of course, you need an event platform to help you engage and interact with both in-person and virtual attendees. But even if you choose to run an in-person-only investigator meeting, it’s always a good idea to have an event app to keep engagement high and collect valuable event metrics to learn more about your participants and establish whether your investigator meeting was a success. Providing an event platform also helps to create a sense of community between you, the investigators, and the site teams before, during, and after your event. This is essential if you want to run a successful clinical trial.
Promote Your Investigator Meetings Well In Advance
As soon as you have a list of everyone who needs to attend your investigator meeting, tell them about it! Send out a series of personalized event emails with all the details they need and build awareness and excitement by highlighting key agenda items, special guests, or presentations. Remind people with follow-up messages leading up to the day of the event.
Make It Easy To Register
Create a seamless event registration journey for all participants. By having a well-structured and fully branded online event registration page that links to your event platform and CRM, you can make the attendee experience effortless from the beginning. Bring all the information from your event platform to your event registration page, such as the agenda, speakers, and sponsors. Collect data automatically in your event platform and CRM, so you can track registration easily and use it to create targeted communications.
Promote The Networking Opportunity
Investigator meetings are more than just a platform for sharing scientific data. For many attendees, the real allure lies in networking opportunities. Numerous surveys have emphasized the importance of scientific networking as a primary motivation for attending these gatherings.
The reasons are multifaceted:
- Peer Learning: An investigator or site team new to a specific study drug or unfamiliar with certain clinical study nuances can significantly benefit from engaging with more seasoned counterparts. By sharing experiences and insights, investigators can bolster their understanding and readiness for the study.
- Business Networking: These meetings offer investigators and site teams the prospect to foster business relationships, laying the groundwork for future collaborations. By connecting with you, they ensure that they remain on the radar for your subsequent trials.
- Strengthening Communication: Early interactions between you and your clinical site staff lay the foundation for seamless communication throughout the study’s duration.
With the potential benefits of networking being so pivotal, it’s crucial for organizers to maximize these opportunities with:
Sharing an attendee roster on your event platform – with due consideration for pharma compliance and security – can set the tone for networking. By knowing who’s attending, participants can prioritize their interactions.
Use your event platform to collect lists of potential interests, fields, or skills and match participants to help them find experts in areas of interest/need.
Creating a secure online space for attendees to interact before the meeting can facilitate early discussions and collaborations. Initiating the group with a thought-provoking question can be an excellent ice-breaker.
Encourage discussions about local attractions. A simple query about the best dining or leisure spots nearby can foster informal conversations, paving the way for deeper scientific exchanges during the event.
Virtual Training Sessions
Organizing online pre-meeting training with senior investigators not only equips participants with crucial insights but also establishes a rapport among the community.
Onsite Interactive Sessions
Initiatives like a live barometer networking session organized using your event app meeting scheduler can invigorate on-the-spot interactions, turning the meeting into a melting pot of diverse experiences and insights.
Using event technology to promote your investigator meetings well in advance, create a frictionless registration, and broadcast networking opportunities is a great way to increase attendance. And consider running hybrid investigator meetings for even more flexibility. If you give attendees a choice, they are more likely to attend.
Creating An Engaging Investigator Meeting Agenda
To craft a truly compelling investigator meeting, you must first recognize the immense value attendees stand to gain from a well-structured experience. This understanding serves as a catalyst for fostering a connected community even before the meeting starts. Remember, a connected community is the cornerstone of an engaged audience.
Begin by addressing essential questions: What is the site staff’s current knowledge level about the study? How aligned is their understanding of the protocol? Do they share a uniform baseline knowledge? Addressing these queries is pivotal to ensuring the sites are primed to aid you in achieving overarching objectives. Furthermore, in the highly regulated landscape of life sciences, don’t overlook the imperatives of GCP compliance, a leading concern among regulators.
Instead of adhering to the conventional “one size fits all” approach, which often leans towards novices, it’s time to innovate. You can significantly enhance the efficacy of your investigator meetings by adopting a few strategies:
Conduct Pre-Event Surveys
Using pre-event surveys in the form of assessment tests on your event platform, such as case studies on adverse event reporting, can help you determine a site team’s expertise in key areas, ensuring training is both relevant and tailored to the study at hand. Those who excel might only need abbreviated training, while others can benefit from comprehensive sessions. Furthermore, pre-event tools like surveys shed light on attendees’ existing knowledge and their learning preferences. This allows you to customize content delivery, fostering richer interaction and more effective learning during investigator meetings. Essentially, these pre-meeting assessments ensure that the event is not just informative, but also precisely tailored and engaging.
Provide On-Demand Training
After carrying out your pre-event surveys, it’s likely that you discover that those involved in your clinical trial have varying levels of knowledge. So, does it make sense for experienced principal investigators to sit through all the basic training sessions they have done many times before? Probably not. Consider providing on-demand training on a gated and secure content hub that links to your event platform. That way, less experienced site staff can follow the on-demand training, you can monitor who completes it and when, and you can spend your time concentrating on creating a more engaging investigator meeting agenda that will appeal to everyone. Make those you invite aware of this when you ask them to register and you will boost your attendance rate too.
Choose Relevant Topics
After conducting pre-event surveys and on-demand training, you will be able to choose subjects and case studies that are important and applicable to those attending your investigator meeting. For example, you could discuss current trends in the industry that they should be aware of at the start of the investigator meeting to grab their attention.
To save time and keep everyone aligned about your investigator meeting, create an event brief as part of the planning process. Download your event brief template today.
Make The Agenda And Content Easily Accessible
By clearly displaying your agenda on your event platform or mobile event app, investigators and site teams will know exactly what’s happening, and where and when. If you choose to create different sessions for attendees with different levels of knowledge, you can personalize each attendee’s agenda. Using your event platform as a central hub for all your investigator meeting content is also a great way to save on printing resources and costs, as well as being more sustainable.
Specialized life science event platforms have fully compliant tools such as one-click access, job code displays, dynamic privacy policies, on-screen disclaimers, advanced free text moderation on the activity feed, content targeting, adverse events reporting link, prescribing information display, and Veeva CRM integration. Make sure you have all these set up before your investigator meetings.
Have Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) Speaking
Why not invite some SMEs to speak at your investigator meetings? This creates more excitement in your agenda, especially if they present critical information about the state of disease and protocols, carry out training, or explain patient safety and compliance for the clinical study. Make sure you invite a speaker who is an expert in their field but also charismatic and inspiring. Their passion and energy will motivate your attendees.
Provide Adequate Breaks
While a jam-packed agenda shows you have lots of valuable content, don’t overschedule. Include coffee breaks, lunches, and time for networking. Investigators and site staff will appreciate the chance to recharge and connect with colleagues and peers.
Plan Interactive Sessions
Include open discussions, Q&As, and group activities. These make for a more collaborative experience and valuable networking opportunities.
Vary Your Content
Mix up presentations, panels, keynotes, and workshops. This prevents repetitiveness and keeps people engaged.
Need help laying out your investigator meeting agenda in a structured way? Download our event run of show template to ensure your agenda runs smoothly.
Planning an investigator meeting agenda with interactive, varied, and relevant content, appropriate breaks, and an inspiring featured speaker or two, will make for an engaging experience your investigators will want to be a part of year after year.
Keeping Engagement High With Interactive Investigator Meetings
Even in investigator meetings, where participants are seemingly a captive audience, engagement is never guaranteed. The feedback speaks for itself. Studies show that attendees prefer investigator meetings that are integrated, interactive components like Q&A sessions on protocols or open discussions about patient enrollment strategies. And two of the biggest complaints are about uninspiring content and lack of comprehension.
The key to investigator meetings is fostering active participation. While protocol training and data exchange are essential, the manner of their delivery can be innovatively reimagined. Gone are the days of passive participation – enter the era of dynamic engagement. With event technology, you can transform investigator meetings with features such as live polls, quizzes, and surveys that invite real-time interaction, creating a vibrant and collaborative environment. This engagement not only sustains interest but enhances critical thinking and knowledge sharing, pivotal for the effective execution of clinical trials.
Here are some interactive elements to add to your investigator meetings to keep all participants engaged:
Site staff and principal investigators want to have the opportunity to discuss protocol-specific subjects with sponsors. Organize time in your investigator meeting agenda for discussion about aspects such as inclusion/exclusion criteria and the scientific background of the clinical study and drug. It will not only help give all those involved in the clinical trial helpful information but will help them feel as if they are part of a team. And that alone increases engagement. You can also organize breakout discussions or workshops on key issues. Split attendees into smaller groups to debate challenges or share best practices. Assign a moderator to each group to keep the conversation productive and report back key takeaways.
Polls And Surveys
Launch quick polls or surveys to get a pulse on site staff and investigators’ opinions and identify areas that need clarification or further discussion. Poll results can shape how you direct the conversation and determine what additional resources or training may be needed.
Share relevant case studies for investigators to analyze and discuss. Apply lessons learned to improve processes or avoid potential issues. Case studies bring discussions to life by grounding them in real-world examples.
Use the moderated Q&A tool on your event platform, and site staff and investigators will appreciate the opportunity to ask questions, provide feedback, and connect with each other. Keep discussions on topic by preparing some prompts or seed questions ahead of time. By getting instant metrics of their knowledge retention through Q&A, you can see if there have been any misunderstandings and ensure to close any knowledge gaps before you close your investigator meeting. That in turn will prevent any delays to the start date of your clinical trial.
Keeping attendees at your investigator meetings actively engaged will lead to a productive meeting where people leave with a clear understanding of priorities, access to resources, and a sense of connection to their peers. Interactive meetings can build support for new initiatives by giving attendees a chance to shape key outcomes. Most importantly, engaged partcipants will be motivated to put what they’ve learned into action.
Looking for the best HCP engagement solutions? Check out our ultimate list.
Measuring Success And ROI With Valuable Analytics From Your Investigator Meetings
Now that your investigator meeting is over, it’s time to analyze the data and metrics to determine the event’s success and ROI. If you added interactive elements like polls, Q&As, and networking, as well as on-demand content, you can easily view and evaluate data collected in your pharma CRM thanks to your powerful event technology.
Life science event platforms like SpotMe provide valuable first-party insights that can help you improve your investigator meetings in the future. Before you host your investigator meeting, decide on the KPIs you would like to track and then record them in your event debrief template afterward. By recording metrics in a structured manner, you can show leadership the value that investigator meetings bring to clinical studies. And individual engagement metrics should help you to demonstrate how investing in event technology that boosts engagement results in a more successful clinical trial.
Here are some examples of metrics that you should track:
Registration and Attendance
Look at how many people registered for your investigator meeting and actually attended. Compare these numbers to previous investigator meetings to see if attendance is increasing. Tracking attendance over time will show the growth and impact of your meetings. Review your event registration platform and see what kinds of questions were asked. Look for any trends in the responses that could influence future meeting content or logistics.
See how many and which attendees participated in any interactive elements like live polls, Q&A, discussion boards, or on-demand content. High participation rates indicate people were engaged and found the content valuable.
Evaluations and Feedback
Review feedback and evaluations from your attendees. Look for common themes around what people enjoyed or thought could be improved. Use this insight to enhance your next investigator meeting.
Analyzing the data and metrics from your investigator meetings will provide key insights into what’s working and how you can make improvements for the next event. Continually enhancing your meetings based on facts and feedback will lead to greater success and ROI over time and more successful clinical trials.
Why Use Event Technology For Your Investigator Meetings
With the huge amount of information shared during investigator meetings, using event technology to help to educate attendees effectively just makes sense. It streamlines planning, boosts attendance and engagement, and provides valuable insights into the clinical trial.
Here are some other reasons you should use event technology for your investigator meetings:
Promoting your investigator meeting through an event website or app makes it easy for investigators to register and stay up to date on the details. Send email reminders and announcements to keep it on their radar. Offering a smooth registration process and multiple options to join (in-person, live stream, on-demand) accommodates everyone’s needs and encourages higher turnout.
An interactive event app gives attendees a personalized experience. They can view the agenda, build their own schedule, participate in live polling and Q&A, and connect with other investigators. Gamification features like leaderboards, badges, and points motivate them to actively engage with content and each other. Their participation and feedback provide a glimpse into their key interests and needs.
Today’s event technology provides robust reporting and analytics to help you strengthen future investigator meetings. See who registered and actually attended, which topics and sessions were most popular, how long people engaged, key metrics around networking, and more. These kinds of insights allow you to tailor content and logistics to match your attendees’ preferences.
Leveraging technology for your investigator meetings is a proven way to make them more impactful, insightful, and well-attended. When armed with data and feedback, you’ll be equipped to deliver an even better experience at your next event.
The Best Event Platform For Investigator Meetings
When planning an investigator meeting, using a comprehensive event management platform is key to success. SpotMe is an ideal solution for investigator meetings, offering tools to boost attendance, engage participants, and gain valuable insights.
SpotMe’s life science event app and platform make it easy for attendees to view schedules, connect with other participants, access presentation materials and more. SpotMe’s analytics give planners a window into attendee behavior, showing who is networking, what content is most popular, and how people are navigating the event. These insights help optimize future investigator meetings.
Robust registration tools, customizable branding, and seamless integrations with various third-party services, such as Veeva, round out SpotMe’s capabilities. For investigator meetings where meaningful connections and insight are key goals, SpotMe is a platform that delivers.
Use SpotMe to power your next investigator meeting and elevate the experience for all involved. Book a demo today.