spring_cleanSpring is finally here!  It is a wonderful feeling to throw open the windows and doors, let the fresh air in and clear out some of those cobwebs (both literally and figuratively).  The arrival of Spring has got me thinking it must be time for the annual cleanout and looking around my research site, it occurred to me that it could also do with a Spring Clean.

If your site is anything like ours, you are super busy with day-to-day items like seeing patients, facilitating monitors, processing lab samples, completing ethics submission etc, etc.  Maintenance tends to get pushed into the “we’ll deal with that when we have time” categorgy.  And, lets face it, we never have time.

Storage space is always an issue in clinical trials.  There is never enough of it – even with the introduction of electronic CRFs and electronic site files.  So why aren’t we making the most of it??  I will wager that there is at least one study at your site that needs to be archived or some expired lab kits that haven’t been disposed or a bunch of stuff that no-one knows what to do with but won’t throw out because we are study coordinators (and not being able to throw things out is one of the things that makes us a good at our jobs).

So I am challenging you to take a morning off (or even the day) to have a Spring Clean of your research site.  To start you off, here are some ideas:

  • Archive any closed studies – I know it is boring and time consuming but think of how much more productive you will be with all that extra shelf space!  So box up those studies and send them off to your archiving facility.  Don’t leave them under your desk until next year!  If you really don’t have time, consider hiring someone to come in and box it up for you.
  • Inventory your lab kits – Go through your supplies and properly dispose of any kits that are expired or no longer applicable (do you really need 3 screening kits for a study that is closed to recruitment?).  Make sure to File Note or fill out a destruction log before you bin them.  While you are at it, check over the number of kits you have and make sure there is enough stock for upcoming visits.
  • Send back overdue equipment – ECG machines, infusion pumps, eDiaries etc that are no longer needed should go back from where they came.  Contact your CRA to arrange return.  If the Sponsor doesn’t want it back, work out if you can use it for other studies.  If not, send it off to the eWaste recycling centre or donate to a clinic than can use it.
  • Rehouse your Site Files – Have a close look at your Site Files and add an extra binder for any that are overflowing.  Sections such as Correspondence and Safety Reports often need their own binders so now is a good time to rehouse those sections.  Just don’t forget to File Note and update the spines.
  • Give your equipment some TLC – Check over your equipment and give it a good clean.  Ensure calibration certificates are up to date and book a service if needed.  If any equipment is broken or not working properly, fix it or ditch it.
  • Review your Feasibilities and CDAs – Its been 10 years, I don’t think the study is going to go ahead.  So ditch the paperwork already (just check the CDAs as some do last five or ten years).  File any feasibilities/CDAs for studies that did go ahead with the study files.
  • Tackle ‘that’ shelf/cupboard/random storage area – If your still motivated after all of the above, time to tackle the junk repository.  You know – that place where stuff  that nobody knows what to do with gets dumped.  Be ruthless – if its important, find a space for it.  If its not important, why do you have it?  Archive it, sell it or throw it out.

Phew!  After all that hard work, time to get out and enjoy the sun shine.



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