Risk based monitoring (RBM) tools for clinical trials: A systematic review

Caroline Hurley, Frances Shiely, Jessica Power, Mike Clarke, Joseph A Eustace, Evelyn Flanagan, Patricia M Kearney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


INTRODUCTION: In November 2016, the Integrated Addendum to ICH-GCP E6 (R2) will advise trial sponsors to develop a risk-based approach to clinical trial monitoring. This new process is commonly known as risk based monitoring (RBM). To date, a variety of tools have been developed to guide RBM. However, a gold standard approach does not exist. This review aims to identify and examine RBM tools.

METHODS: Review of published and grey literature using a detailed search-strategy and cross-checking of reference lists. This review included academic and commercial instruments that met the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) classification of RBM tools.

RESULTS: Ninety-one potential RBM tools were identified and 24 were eligible for inclusion. These tools were published between 2000 and 2015. Eight tools were paper based or electronic questionnaires and 16 operated as Service as a System (SaaS). Risk associated with the investigational medicinal product (IMP), phase of the clinical trial and study population were examined by all tools and suitable mitigation guidance through on-site and centralised monitoring was provided.

CONCLUSION: RBM tools for clinical trials are relatively new, their features and use varies widely and they continue to evolve. This makes it difficult to identify the "best" RBM technique or tool. For example, equivalence testing is required to determine if RBM strategies directed by paper based and SaaS based RBM tools are comparable. Such research could be embedded within multi-centre clinical trials and conducted as a SWAT (Study within a Trial).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical Trials Data Monitoring Committees
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Risk
  • Journal Article
  • Review


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