How Medable ensures sites and participants are trial-ready through its shipment of connected devices

With BBC Research forecasting that “the global smartphone-based patient monitoring market should reach $21.5 billion by 2027,” it’s safe to say that smartphones, tablets, and other devices have become a cornerstone of modern clinical trials.

Today’s trials use smart devices to help facilitate several important trial activities, like informed consent, data collection, patient feedback, and more. As a result, ensuring device delivery logistics has become a crucial step in getting a trial started and keeping participants engaged throughout its duration.

At Medable, we often handle device shipping for our customers' clinical trials. The team responsible for providing this service, led by Carl Franzetti, SVP of Professional Global Services has a market-leading 99% device shipment rate, with the remaining 1% resulting from normal business operation limitations such as weather outages.

The result? Our customer’s trials start on time and their participants are better engaged. 

The model for success

Achieving a 99% device shipment rate isn’t easy. “I would love to say that there is some special tool.  But to be honest, we have a team of experienced people and they work really hard at it,” Carl states. 

Part of his team’s success comes from their philosophy founded around these principles: 

  1. Create a global network of partnerships
  2. Build an internal global customs expert inside Medable
  3. Follow a buffer stock model
  4. Supply chain management should use a proactive view of device model changes, device discontinuation, and changing technology requirements around the world
  5. Forecast well in advance, and use Salesforce CRM data to stay ahead of the game.

The team’s strategy is simple. Create a small group of experts who follow a hub and spoke model, create best-in-class partnerships with vendors, and are extremely proactive in their approach. 

How the team supports device delivery

The team is filled out by Derek Ferguson, Director of Device Technology and Management, Daniel Warman, Director of Supply Chain Operations, Tammy Riley, an International Distribution Coordinator, and Nikoleta Simpson, Supply Chain Operations Manager.

Tammy Riley is key to Medable’s import and export operations and a master at getting devices in and out of countries seamlessly. Her role requires that she keeps up with the changing intricacies of global device regulations while ensuring that Medable is compliant with the constantly changing landscape of the international supply chain. To accomplish this, Tammy has created and maintained her living breathing global regulation database to minimize disruptions and stay ahead of the curve.

Tammy’s work is complemented by Nikoleta, and her team of Supply Chain Coordinators who collaborate closely with clients to understand their needs, translating them into actionable deployment plans. The Supply Chain Coordinators are the bridge between the Clients, Solution Managers, and our Depots, making sure Medable delivers seamlessly.

Principles in action

To make our reach global, Medable partners with vendors in six key regions: India, China, Bulgaria, the US, the EU, and Japan. This vast network ensures proximity to clients and reduces potential delays due to customs and procurement timelines.

This is paired with a buffer stock model where Medable anticipates the needs of devices based on Salesforce CRM data as well as industry trends. 

Internally, the Medable team handles remote application deployment and management, adhering to client timelines and working to minimize any customs delays. 

Derek and the Mobile Device Management team stay ahead of the curve by researching next-generation devices and predicting device obsolescence. This foresight ensures a smooth transition to new technologies and minimizes downtime.

Vendor evaluation is also key. Dan leads the team to leverage partnerships with multiple couriers and suppliers to guarantee redundancy and avoid disruptions due to supply chain and carrier-specific issues. This means that several countries have redundant vendor overlap, which has been key in times of emergency. 

“We have the core journey here,” states Derek Ferguson, "then we build out our needs with partnerships and vendors. The experience of getting units into Egypt and Saudi Arabia properly and working with software is what drove the foundation of our team and how we’re set up.” 

Future success in clinical trial device delivery

Looking forward, the team’s focus is on bringing in partners in Mexico, Argentina, and other “traditionally tough” places. 

However, Carl’s team has been so successful recently that customers have begun asking the team if they can support trials that Medable is not currently contracted for. “That’s the ultimate compliment,” states Carl. ”We must be doing it ‘the right way’ if our customer’s other study teams are coming to us and asking for help with their device technology and logistics.”

Medable’s device delivery is part of their top-tier professional services, including solution management, and 24/7 customer support.  

To learn more about clinical trial devices, their uses, and their benefits, click here