All of us here at Core wish all of you and yours the very best. We hope you are staying safe and continue to find the courage and humanity to take each day as it comes along with the knowledge that we are all in this together. Please know that everyone here at Core remains committed to supporting you through this time of great need.
As you may have heard, given the unprecedented disruption in our industry around the world, a number of usability studies and clinical trials had to be temporarily postponed. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for research now more than ever. The world has changed and will continue to do so. Companies who study that change, research how to evolve their processes and products, and then successfully adapt, are the companies who will not only survive but thrive.
Times have changed.
It is not possible to conduct in-person research in the exact same manner as prior to the pandemic, but research can and must continue.
It’s time for our industry to change.
We expect that some form of physical distancing, stay-at-home orders, or other non-pharmaceutical intervention will be required for the foreseeable future, perhaps until we have widespread immunization and/or herd immunity. Usability research may be forever changed. While some studies may be rescoped to take place by phone, video, or other technology, much research will need to continue in person, and must be appropriately adapted. The study scope and/or methodology must now accommodate public health guidelines from the CDC and other agencies. Flexibility will be key to minimize the additional costs and/or calendar time.
Core is ready for the change.
We have developed many new strategies, including:
- Incorporating additional physical distancing practices into traditional lab-based studies (Note: Core was identified by the Governor’s office as contributing to the health and safety of Pennsylvania and therefore allowed to continue in-person work on a limited basis.)
- Converting in-person studies to virtual studies by allowing participants to interact with digital prototypes or labeling
- Traveling to participants in mobile usability labs so they don’t have to visit our office
- Shipping a secure “lab-in-a-box” to participants to remotely evaluate use of a product in participants’ homes while controlling and tracking access to study product to maintain safety and confidentiality
- Conducting expert reviews of products or supporting documentation needs without involving participants (Note: this is not a “new” strategy but is gaining popularity in the industry during the pandemic as it’s very cost effective and quick to perform.)
- Rapidly evaluating potential surrogate participants who can participate more easily than particular patient groups or HCPs
Every study has its own unique requirements and there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution, but you can count on us to walk you through all of the options.
We’re ready to help.
Whether you have a new project to discuss, have already discussed a research study with us, or have an active contract with us for in-person research, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss how best to proceed with your unique requirements.
A word about costs and timelines.
Some changes to studies may reduce costs such as converting in-person research to an online study, if appropriate. Some changes may keep the costs about the same such as converting an in-person study to a lab-in-a-box study, in certain cases. There are situations where adapting an in-person study may lead to an increase in cost, such as adding time between each session for lab cleaning and additional study product preparation, as well as allotting time for greater physical distancing practices. It may also take more time to recruit participants and conduct research. We’ll do everything in our power to help keep the costs as low as possible and to minimize the necessary calendar time.
Now is the time to act.
Please contact us soon to discuss options for your studies. If we’re able to complete the conduct of your study before the end of June, any additional facility days at Core’s facility and the associated researcher time due to additional cleaning and/or new physical distancing practices will be provided at a steep 50% discount.