Important industry news, application updates and new features

Why move from Excel to a clinical trial management system?

We all have used and are still using Microsoft Excel, Google Forms, and some other instruments for collecting data. But the world is changing dynamically and the processes are getting more and more complex. Clinical trials are not an exception. They are progressively getting sophisticated, including new stakeholders, and more data, they need to comply with new regulations, and enormous security issues, which are hot topics every day.

All these factors come to tell us that we should update our technology infrastructure and concept accordingly if we want to have fluent, easy-manageable, secure, and compliant with the legislation clinical trial process.

Excel spreadsheets and even paper are still commonly used in hospitals and research sites, although the global clinical trial management system market is projected to hit USD 5.1 billion by 2030 and register growth at a CAGR of 12.98% from 2022 to 2030 (according to Precedence Research report).

But why should we move from an Excel-based clinical trial process to a CTMS-based clinical process?

“Some people call Excel the King of the software, as it is probably one of the most flexible software packages on the market for many years, as it comes to budgeting and financing. But even if it does its job pretty well in most cases there are many reasons to move to a specialised software”, explains Ivailo Ivanov, the CTO of BGO Software, the visionary behind the Clinicubes CTMS. Below you can find four reasons to move to a clinical trial management system that will probably convince you of its benefits.

Is this the recent version?

“Excel is not a centralized sort of truth. It is not a place where we can undoubtfully say that this is the most recent version of the information and that this information is something we can rely on 100%”, says Ivailo Ivanov.

Every clinical trial includes many participants, and if we use Excel, we should be aware that many people have access to the worksheet and can modify it many times. So, sometimes it’s not obvious which is the most recent version of the document and whether we are working on it.

Invisible errors

The invisible errors are the nightmare of everyone engaged in the clinical trial budget planning and execution. If you use an old template in Excel with some complex formulas and import new budgets to it, you can encounter invisible errors. And these errors could stay invisible for a long period. “This could play a bad joke on the project budget. It’s not funny to find out the error several months after the budget has been approved and to start asking why this is there and who has added it”, explains Ivailo Ivanov.

Who did it?

And here we come to the next problem – the difficult traceability and accountability.

Sometimes it is not immediately obvious to the people using the spreadsheets, who have edited the document. The tracking possibility and the easy-accessed audit trails are something to consider when using Excel as a tool for budgeting.

Regulatory compliant

Nowadays compliance with the legislation is of high importance. The regulatory framework is updated frequently, and the organisation should be flexible enough to comply with the recent legal requirements. “Let’s take the GDPR. If we use Excel, it’s very difficult to comply and also to provide evidence to the regulator who has access to the data, and how is this access managed and secured”, says Ivailo Ivanov.

The four pluses of the clinical trial management system

If we can summarise, as a contra version to Excel, the CTMS is first of all a centralised source of truth and could be sure that there are no duplicate spreadsheets. Secondly, it is easy to maintain the data, and you can escape invisible errors when the complex formula is deployed. In the third place, you can set access permissions so people know what they edit. This should guarantee a high level of accountability and an easy audit trail process. And last but not least, the CTMS provides advanced security and compliance with all legal requirements, such as GDPR.

If you want to test the benefits of the Clinicubes CTMS, contact us.