Philips enhances project delivery with Smartsheet to fast-track clinical research
Philips Clinical Operations’ team brings together clinical trial program management and collaboration tools in Smartsheet, creating program transparency, faster project updates, and streamlined workflows for more efficient healthcare research.
"The ability to forecast resources, track utilisation and conduct real-time program management is essential for the execution of clinical trials. Smartsheet makes it easier for us to deliver on these important aspects."
Manager Clinical Operations at Philips
Philips has been shaping the future of health care for the last 130 years, with clinical trials being an essential catalyst for its scientific advances. "Our central focus is to ensure patient safety, quality, and integrity of Philips-sponsored and -supported study," says Gemma Quinn, Manager of Clinical Operations at Philips. "This can be challenging as each trial is a complex and interdisciplinary process involving many stakeholders who need to work closely together."
Project-level enhancements for global impact
Philips Clinical Operations team needed a software with a user-friendly interface that people with varying technical skills could use.
"We also needed the solution to be adaptable to manage trials of different complexity and team sizes," Quinn adds.
To close the information gap and capture all tasks, projects, timelines, and resources in a single place, the team implemented Smartsheet. "It was a clear winner because it was adaptable and enabled us to link our time and resources to projects effectively," says Quinn.
Launching new projects in a snap
"First, to make metrics across all projects consistent, we created a project toolkit containing a standard set of plans, time trackers, and dashboards based on our global clinical processes," says Quinn. The toolkit has become a replicable blueprint that project managers use to kick off new trials quickly. "Every time someone requests to start a project, we provision in Control Center and they have access to templates, reports, and forms. It’s fast, efficient, and consistent," continues Quinn. All studies are available through a single portfolio dashboard. “We get an overview of each study, giving an immediate insight into their current phase,” she adds.
Before a new project begins, the project manager completes a Smartsheet request form. "They fill out mandatory fields and submit the form, which saves into a Smartsheet Intake Sheet. Then, our team gets a notification that somebody has requested a study folder to be created in Smartsheet, and we can do that immediately," she adds.
Different Smartsheet forms are used across all project stages to collect information from everyone, anywhere and anytime, allowing tasks to progress faster.
“We keep metrics consistent with predefined field values, drop-down lists, and other tools, which maintains the standard formats,” Quinn details. “This makes information easier to find, retrieve, and share.”
Adjusting perspective for a global and local view
Smartsheet enables Philips Clinical Operations to have a big-picture view of each project. The team can easily drill down into the required details if needed. "We can pull metrics consistently from different tools and platforms to create a general overview at the portfolio level. And dashboards let us go deeper to see more information about the projects’ status," Quinn explains.
Each team has its dashboard, while each project has a sheet with clear-cut status indications. "We use an intuitive traffic light system where timely projects get a green colour, delayed—orange, and significantly delayed—red," says Quinn. “This helps us keep track of our projects easily and ensure we address any concerns.”
Adding urgency to critical collaboration
Smartsheet also enables Philips Clinical Operations team to fast-track clinical projects by facilitating collaboration across all stakeholders. "We wanted to introduce one way of working," says Quinn. "One of my favourite features is having sheets that contain all the information our team needs to set up projects. So instead of communicating via emails, which is counterproductive, we are able to just access information ourselves.”
All sheets have people assigned to project roles for transparency, while critical communication between team members happens in real time, directly within the project context.
"The Conversations feature allows us to add comments in the sheet and direct questions to team members there instead of sending emails," Quinn explains. “Only the latest comments are displayed, and older ones are stored in the conversation history of that particular sheet, which helps avoid bloated cells.”
Moving projects forward
Finally, the team at Philips Clinical Operations makes project updates easy and convenient for stakeholders with forms. "Contributors who don't feel comfortable working with sheets can make updates via forms," says Quinn. "When an action is needed from them, the system sends an automated notification with all the required details. The note is then accompanied by a direct link to the website form that they can work with." Once the form is complete, all updates are populated into the sheet automatically.
Moreover, thanks to the global view Smartsheet gives, stakeholders can see each trial's complexity, timeline, and dependencies. “This helps educate functions on the impact of task delays to the overall project, and why it’s crucial for every critical dependency to be visible ” says Quinn.
Better innovation for better health
Currently, Philips Clinical Operations uses Smartsheet primarily for its business-critical projects; all leveraging the same set of resources and tools. To further speed up clinical trials planning and oversight of execution, the team is piloting resource management and allocation settings in search of a steady process for sourcing and assigning roles.
"We want to become much more efficient in resourcing for future projects so that we can look back at our resources, evaluate whether they have been over- or under-allocated, and optimise it for next time," shares Quinn.
With innovation embedded in its motto, Philips continues to devise new modes of collaboration, communication, and metrics sharing to propel its scientific research. Smartsheet is an integral part of that movement at Clinical Operations.
"The ability to forecast resources, track utilisation and conduct real-time program management is essential for the execution of clinical trials," sums up Quinn. "Using Smartsheet also ensures that management receives dashboards for critical decision making."