Children’s Research Hospital Revitalizes Clinical Research Information System with 14X Faster Protocol Migration
A clinical research information system (CRIS) is the nerve center of research hospitals. Physicians, caretakers, and researchers rely on CRIS to manage their programs.
An offshore vendor was painfully slow in CRIS development and support for one of the most prominent Children’s Research Hospitals in the U.S. With no sense of urgency from the vendor in sight, the hospital switched to a digital strong path with AgileThought.
AgileThought merged duplicate systems, developed enhancements, and continues to support the updated system. The increase in productivity and work completed for the Children’s Cancer Research Hospital reflected no increase in cost compared to the previous offshore vendor.
Clinical Research without Disruption
CRIS is the main system for clinical trials. It consists of data entry, reporting, tracking, and monitoring individuals and population groups. Unlike other enterprise systems which follow business rules, CRIS carries the complexities of a large database and unique research programs.
Each research program requires access to track therapies, medication, and patient status. It was imperative that CRIS mesh seamlessly with researcher workflows without affecting the overall ecosystem.
CRIS is used to generate individual research trial systems, or protocols. A simple enhancement or bug fix can throw the historic database off, and thus requires careful support and maintenance.
The children’s research hospital supports 47 departments and over 400 research protocols at all times, all running on CRIS. AgileThought, through the Rapid Transition Model, took on CRIS projects as well as projects in twelve other systems.
Challenge: Five Weeks to Fully Support the Largest IT System in the Children’s Research Hospital
CRIS is 20X to 30X larger than the other twelve systems AgileThought was asked to support. The AgileThought team spent the first few weeks onsite learning the system alongside hospital tech leads. Documentation was lacking from the previous vendor, so they had to rely on first-hand experience to get up to speed.
Working onsite with tech leads showed the hospital a direct comparison of AgileThought work quality compared with the prior offshore vendor.
Two full-time AgileThought resources were dedicated to CRIS support for six months. In addition, AgileThought supplied day and night shifts onsite, remote support from Mexico, and monitored nightly runs. These extra hours enabled the AgileThought team to learn the associated research processes quickly, and reassured that the hospital could continue their clinical research timelines on their terms.
One Small Project to Establish Quality Standards
Versatility was essential to the thirteen-project takeover. The hospital required a vendor who was experienced in healthcare processes, could meld with their culture, and could offer full-stack technical capabilities.
One of the first projects the AgileThought CRIS team worked on was a survey for children with specific diseases – run on an iPad application using the CRIS database. The customer tech lead was skeptical with AgileThought’s initial estimate, thinking (based on their experience with the offshore vendor) that it would fall short. It was a smaller, less impactful project, but AgileThought met deadlines and quality expectations.
Choosing the Digital Strong Path
A much larger project involved migrating data from a duplicate CRIS instance – created from a decision made nearly ten years earlier. The first effort to merge CRIS and “CRIS 2” failed. The prior vendor mishandled metadata, relationships, and mapping – compromising research projects. The data migration project was important for the hospital, and they placed full confidence in the AgileThought team after only five weeks of onboarding.
The AgileThought team restarted the CRIS dual system migration, rewriting the entire project, and completed all twenty-four protocol migrations on time.
A leukemia clinical trial, the largest and most visible protocol for the hospital, was successfully migrated by AgileThought in twenty-eight minutes. It took the previous offshore vendor over six hours to migrate the same protocol, and they were ultimately unsuccessful.
AgileThought developed system enhancements that mapped research phases, such as chemotherapy outcomes, providing transparency to researchers. After the migration, data was synchronized and the researchers worked with a single, transparent system.
A Closer Look
One of the strongest assets AgileThought brought to the project was the ability to understand the problem, develop the most feasible solution, and implement it.
Merge CRIS dataIn the case of CRIS, it was understanding the system’s generic nature and complexities. No healthcare system should be subject to poor data management. The following compares project structure between the previous offshore vendor and AgileThought:
Who’s managing your data?
AgileThought successfully completed the migration nearly 14X faster than the previous vendor, who could not successfully manage a single protocol. The path to digital transformation involves a large investment and technology changes. AgileThought ensures customers are prepared to meet those changes by optimizing their current systems and processes so that, when they do upgrade, they know exactly what to expect.
Why More Hospitals Turn to AgileThought for Process Improvements
The path to digital transformation involves a large investment and technology changes. AgileThought ensures customers are prepared to meet those changes by optimizing their current systems and processes so that, when they do upgrade, they know exactly what to expect.
AgileThought has been the CRIS and Cerner partner for this children’s research hospital for over four years.
The CRIS migration project had two lasting effects:
- It cut maintenance costs in half – by eliminating an entire system
- It enabled the customer to renew their infrastructure
AgileThought continues to assist the hospital with enhancements and infrastructure upgrades.