How many times have you hired a contractor who is going to redo your kitchen and you get the infamous promise that they can start on one day and can have the job done in 4 weeks and what typically happens, an unexpected delay! Or you make an appointment and expect to be taken on time, but you end up waiting an hour. I think all of us have had it done to us and have been the reciprocator as well. We tell our dogs we will walk them in 5 min when we really mean an hour. So why do we over promise and seem to see this happening way too often? Marianne Thornton, Founder and President of Alpha IRB sat with me recently to discuss how this phenomenon is also present in our clinical industry.
“It really comes down to doing what you say you will do no matter the price you have to pay to ensure you stick to your promise.” says Marianne Thornton, Founder of Alpha IRB. Alpha is turning over a lot of business and as such, Marianne indicates that she has to be efficient and process driven to make sure all of her commitments are met. She plans ahead strategically, because something unexpected is bound to rear its ugly head.
Ms. Thornton says another reason she sees non commitment happening is due to poor communications or a lack of the parties confirming their understanding of what is meant when words are used. For example, a phrase you often hear in the industry is “expedited review”. What you find with these words is that it can mean many things to different IRBs in terms of document turnaround. Some say expedited means 2 days turnaround, others it is 3 days turnaround, or still another group advertises 24 hours. Do you know what your IRB means when they say expedited? Are you paying for a service that another IRB offers as part of normal processing? So when I asked the Founder of Alpha IRB what we could expect from Alpha’s expedited services, therein pursued further questions that I wanted to share with you.
SalesLink (Susan Walsh): What does expedited mean at Alpha IRB in terms of turnaround time?
AlphaIRB (Marianne Thornton): For Alpha, expedited means it will be processed overnight, for qualifying submissions
SalesLink: Do you charge extra for this expedited service?
AlphaIRB: No, there is no extra charge for expedited review.
SalesLink: Does your IRB meet the promised timeline and if so, how often?
AlphaIRB : No matter the number of meetings we have; it is our process, commitment, efficiencies and staff that ensures we always make our commitments. Because we have proven processes that have been used over thousands of times in this past year, we know they work. We know how to strategically maneuver. No matter the hiccup, the process goes on.
SalesLink: From submission to receipt of approval of documents, how long does it take to get sites up and running?
AlphaIRB: Typically, it takes from 3-5 business days from submission to receipt of approval of documents. We work hand-in-hand with the sites and sponsors/CROs to obtain any necessary documentation or changes prior to the scheduled meeting so that the reviewers are working with accurate and complete information.
SalesLink: So that sites are up and running quickly, does your IRB proactively track the sites’ submissions to get all documents in for a timely review?
AlphaIRB: Yes, we do the tracking of sites ourselves adding to the entire big picture of being able to say we can commit to timelines.
SalesLink: How long does it take for changes to research documents to be put in place for all participating sites?
AlphaIRB: Amendment and other modification approvals are typically issued within 24-48 hours of IRB approval. It may vary depending on the number of sites in the study, or the type of modification. We always communicate the timeline with the client and can prioritize sites as needed.
SalesLink: When you have a question can you get someone on the phone and if not how long does it take for the right person to call the client back?
AlphaIRB: My policy is to always pick up the phone rather than voicemail. We want to answer and route the client to the right person who is handling or will be handling the questions or requests from start to finish, so that we deliver consistency in information being shared.
SalesLink: There are approximately 30-40 commercial IRBs. What is your number one differentiator?
SalesLink: Why did you create Alpha IRB?
AlphaIRB: To create an IRB that does not compromise on protecting the rights and welfare of subjects while delivering premium client service that is second to none.
SalesLink: What goals do you have that you plan to have accomplished this time next year?
AlphaIRB: Continue to grow the business while continuing to find ways to improve our already stellar customer service.
SalesLink: Can I come back for a follow-up interview next year?
AlphaIRB: You bet and consider the invitation open.
AlphaIRB is situated in California, operating as a fully accredited IRB. Over 100 hours of training is performed yearly to claim accreditation through the Associate for Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs (AAHRPP).
SalesLink is a lead generation sales acceleration company in New Jersey. SalesLink prides itself for working with companies like Alpha IRB and offers services to sponsors in a boutique style with strong commitment to excellence. SalesLink employs 10 lead generators and maintains a well designed PRM system that feeds into CRMs.