There has never been a better time to be in clinical research. From constant scientific innovation to being a part of a community of academic experts, there are seemingly endless opportunities to grow. While it all might seem exciting from the outside, organizations still face some internal challenges.
One such obstacle is the current clinical quality management systems (CQMS) in place at many start-ups or small firms. Their QMS are often not in line with global regulatory authority regulations or are deficient in the level of documentation needed to reconstruct and defend every aspect of clinical trials.
This can be fixed by having the basic quality systems embraced at every level of the organization in order to set the foundation for internal compliance and vendor oversight. In this article, we’ll discuss in detail about what the CQMS is, its key elements, and why it is important to implement in your organization.
What is a Clinical QMS vs QMS?
Every organization has a blueprint by which it operates under called the “quality system”, also known as the “quality management system” (QMS). It is a dynamic mechanism that overlooks and aims to improve core processes at maximum efficiency. The goal of the QMS is to provide a high-quality product at the lowest cost. In action, the QMS implements specific concepts, standards, methodologies, and tools to achieve quality-related goals.
On the other hand, the CQMS is a quality system more specific for clinical research and study management. It helps manage documents, processes, quality events, audits, and many more activities that occur throughout a clinical trial. More specifically, this system facilitates activities across the Clinical Quality and Clinical Operations sectors to improve efficiency, promote risk mitigation and risk management practices, and expedite drug development and delivery.
Key Elements of a Clinical QMS: Quality Management System Solutions
When setting up and implementing a CQMS, these are the key elements that should be highlighted:
- Any processes should be well-defined prior to documentation. The organization should then determine the level and detail of procedural documentation that is needed to describe these processes. Procedural documents should detail policies, standard operating procedures, working instructions, etc.
- Resources, Roles and Responsibilities. Both material resources and staff should be described in this part of the CQMS. Staff members should have clear roles and responsibilities that will directly affect operations and quality of outcomes. Leadership should be proactively managing resources on a consistent basis.
- This includes collaborations, such as joint product development or outsourced activities. An organization has to understand the needs, expectations, limitations, and risks that will be carried out in such partnerships.
- Risk Management. While you cannot predict every scenario that will happen, a risk management process will allow an organization to better predict such situations and prioritize resources to address the most significant risks that do arise.
- Issue Management. This type of framework gives an organization the ability to quickly identify, investigate, assess, elevate, and communicate significant issues. Ideally, it should work in a way that issues will not recur and continue to improve the quality of clinical studies.
- Knowledge Management. Knowledge is critical to the success of an organization’s performance. A knowledge management framework allows information to be applied by employees faster.
- Documentation Supporting Achievement of Quality. There should be an appropriate level of documentation to back up the risks and significance of a clinical trial activity that will satisfy quality objectives and stakeholder requirements.
Important Benefits of QMS
An effective QMS system will result in better outcomes across all areas of your organization. Some of the most important benefits of a QMS include:
- Identifying and improving processes
- Improving patient safety in clinical trials
- Providing a consistent framework for regulatory authorities
- Streamlining clinical trial processes
- Assuring data integrity
- Reducing delayed studies
- Resolving repetitive quality issues
- Lowering costs
One of the reasons why some organizations struggle to achieve quality results is because of the lack of a framework that could help them better guide their processes and performance. A CQMS empowers organizations to define, learn, and improve upon every aspect of their process not only to improve performance and outcomes, but to also meet different stakeholders’ expectations. Implementing a CQMS will enhance an organization’s performance and inspection readiness and will ultimately facilitate the approval of investigational products.