A Spotlight on Richard’s Impactful Contributions to eCOA Systems 

 

In this team member spotlight, we sit down with Richard to explore his career path with PSI, what he finds most rewarding about his role, and the advice he would give those wishing to join our team.

Richard stands out as a key influencer at PSI, where he spearheads the proposal and development activities related to eCOA. His daily contributions involve offering guidance to diverse stakeholders, from vendors to study teams, with the overarching goal of creating efficient systems that enhance data quality while minimizing operational burdens.  

As we delve into Richard’s journey, we explore his transformative experience from a microbiologist at Unilever to Associate Director of eCOA Systems here at PSI, where he not only manages his team but also serves as a mentor and strategic thinker, shaping the direction of the group to continually add value to the industry. 

Describe your role within PSI and how you impact a clinical trial. 

As Associate Director of eCOA (Clinical Outcome Assessments) Systems, my responsibility involves overseeing all aspects of proposal and development related to eCOA; eDiaries, Questionnaires, Scales, etc. On a daily basis, I provide guidance to vendors, sponsors, and study teams, outlining the system’s structure and functionality. My goal is to ensure that the system effectively captures necessary data while minimizing the burden on both the site and the patient. Failing to create a usable solution can significantly impact compliance and data quality, especially since the systems we build often support primary and secondary endpoints.

In the realm of eCOA development, timely delivery is crucial, as it frequently aligns with the critical path during startup. Therefore, managing the system delivery effectively is essential to ensure readiness for FSI (First Subject In).

Additionally, a key aspect of my role involves contributing to proposals and supporting bid defense. This is where I begin strategizing the best ways to implement a system.

How did you become interested in clinical research, and how have you grown professionally at PSI?

To be candid, I didn’t actively seek out a clinical role; rather, it found me during my time at Unilever in the oral care group. While working as a microbiologist, I developed an assay to measure the rate of lactic acid production in plaque. The plan was to use this assay to detect differences in subjects with a high incidence of tooth decay versus those with a low incidence in India. The individual set to oversee the study team in India was reluctant to travel, and jokingly, I volunteered to take on the role. 

Subsequently, I collaborated with the science team on the protocol and worked with personnel in India to identify a suitable location in the Mumbai area. I then trained the sites in the assay and collaborated with the local study team to execute the study. This experience marked a significant shift from my lab-based role, where I modeled the disease process, to a clinical setting where I felt closer to making a tangible difference. 

Post-Unilever, I briefly worked for a medical charity, managing a grant round with a cumbersome paper-heavy process. Successfully advocating for the development and implementation of an electronic web-based application form was a pivotal moment. Following this, I expanded my expertise into clinical technology IxRS first and then into eCOA. 

My career at PSI has been transformative. While I’ve held line management roles in the past, eCOA presented a new challenge. At PSI, I not only manage my team but also serve as a mentor and strategic thinker, shaping the direction of the group to ensure we continually add value to PSI. This added responsibility has been a significant factor in my professional growth and development at PSI. 

What do you find most rewarding about your career at PSI and what advice would you give to someone looking to join our team?

What I find most rewarding about my career is successful, on-time delivery of a system, especially when the first patient successfully uses the device and we obtain valuable data. This aspect of the role can be nerve-wracking, but it’s undeniably the most fulfilling. Additionally, providing guidance that is well-received and appreciated, whether it’s internally at PSI or to a Sponsor, comes in as a close second in terms of satisfaction.

For someone looking to join our team, I would emphasize the gratification that comes with contributing to the timely and successful implementation of systems. Be prepared for the challenges, but also appreciate the value in offering guidance that positively influences our processes. At PSI, we’re in the ‘Goldilocks Zone’ of CROs – not too large to feel lost or anonymous, and not too small to feel restricted or isolated. It’s just the right fit for a balanced and rewarding professional experience.

Interested in taking the next step in your career? Discover what makes PSI so unique and explore our open job opportunities.  

 

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