In order to expedite the review process, simultaneous scheduling of the SCCC scientific review with an IRB preview and IRB scheduling was implemented.

“Only studies that were approved or approved with stipulations by the [SCCC scientific review committee] remained on the agenda for the scheduled IRB meeting,” the study authors stated.

In addition, it was decided that clinical trial review by the clinical research coordination review committee, which focuses on study feasibility, could also be conducted at the same time as reviews by the scientific review committee and the IRB.

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Limited staff involved in determining whether specific procedures performed as part of the clinical trial are billed to insurance or paid for by the trial was another bottleneck identified as part of this study. Subsequent changes were made to increase the number of staff members with this type of expertise.

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Notably, implementation of all of these changes resulted a decrease in time to activation of a cancer clinical trial at SCCC from a median of 185 days in quarter 1 of 2017 to 132 days in quarter 3 of 2018.

In their concluding remarks, the study authors commented that “we successfully formed a multidisciplinary process improvement team that developed a process map for activating a clinical trial at a matrix NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center. By doing so, we identified opportunities for improvement that successfully decreased the overall time to activation of cancer clinical trials.”


Williams E, Brown TJ, Griffith P, et al. Improving the time to activation of new clinical trials at a National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center [published online January 16, 2020]. JCO Oncol Pract. doi: 10.1200/OP.19.00325