Linking Sponsors and Pre-Qualified Sites


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A business handshakeSynergyst Research Group is a trial management organization that works with independently owned, multi-specialty medical groups as an “administrative arm,” providing study start services.

We work closely with sponsors and CROs to pre-qualify research sites throughout the United States.

Our services include:

  • Finding appropriate studies
  • Timely document turnaround
  • Site visit coordination and preparation
  • Contract/budget negotiations
  • Patient recruitment support

This allows sites to focus on patient recruitment, retention and quality data entry.

Study contracts are established between the sponsors and the research sites.

Please contact Sheri Campbell, vice president for business development, if you are interested in placing any current or upcoming studies at our pre-qualified, experienced research sites. She can be reached by email at or by calling 210-591-1157.

To learn more about Synergyst, please visit the Synergyst Research website.


Synergyst Research Makes Inc Magazine List for Third Year in a Row


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Synergyst logoSynergyst Research Group / Discovery Clinical Trials has been ranked on the Inc. 500|5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in the United States for the third year in a row, the magazine has announced.

The San Antonio-based company was 206th among health companies on the Inc. 500|5000 list and 20th among Texas health companies.

“We are thrilled to make the Inc. 500|5000 list again,” said Trudy Madan, CEO of Synergyst Research Group / Discovery Clinical Trials. “It’s the result of our dedication to a simple principle – helping people – that is the guiding force for everything we do.”

Synergyst Research is the administrative arm for physicians, sponsors and clinical research organizations, providing marketing, patient recruitment, and budgeting and contracting expertise.

Discovery Clinical Trials is a joint-venture partnership with independently owned research sites located primarily in Texas and Florida. The company manages daily operations, including human resources, finance, accounting, quality monitoring and patient recruitment services.

Research studies allow clinics to diversify practice revenue and assist in finding new treatments and cures for patients.

“In today’s world it is a distinct honor to enter into business ventures with people who are knowledgeable, honest and hardworking,” said Dr. Stephen Apaliski, an Arlington, Texas, allergy and asthma physician who has worked in partnership with Discovery Clinical Trials since 2009. “It has been my singular pleasure and good fortune to be associated such people at Synergyst Research over the past several years.

“The team has worked diligently in the pursuit of excellence, laying a strong base for continued success into the future.”

Synergyst Research Group/Discovery Clinical Trials participates in more than 150 research studies a year, and the company works with various size pharmaceutical companies including the some of the largest in the in the development of new treatments.

The privately held company employs approximately 50 people at its corporate office in San Antonio and within medical practices in Texas and Florida.

“Everyone at the company believes we are making a difference in people’s lives, now and in the future,” Madan said. “We’re helping bring lifesaving treatments to the market in the safest and fastest way possible. We’re helping people every day.”

Benefits of research studies
Whether patients are motivated by a desire to advance medical research, help others, receive treatment for themselves or receive possible compensation, Synergyst Research Group/Discovery Clinical Trials provides an opportunity to take part in important research within the confines of a physician’s office.

“Research is rewarding to those who take part in it,” Madan said. “The physician helps determine the future safety and efficacy of drugs, and research study patients can gain access to cutting-edge products before they become mainstream in the marketplace.”

Because of declines in insurance reimbursements, more and more physicians are searching for additional revenue to defray the costs of top-quality medical care. Research studies provide those opportunities.

What is a research study?
A research study is a comparison of an experimental medication or medical treatment with the standard treatment, another medication/treatment or placebo (an inactive lookalike pill). In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration requires all pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers to prove the safety and efficacy of the medications or treatments prior to receiving approval to sell their product in the public market place.

Research studies vary greatly in size depending on the phase of research. For pharmaceuticals, research studies are commonly classified into four phases:

  • Phase I studies are the first stage of testing in human subjects and normally include a small (20-80) group of healthy volunteers.
  • Phase II studies are performed on larger groups (20-300) and are designed to assess how well the drug works. These take place only after the initial safety of the study drug has been confirmed in Phase I trials.
  • Phase III studies are randomized controlled multicenter trials on large patient groups (300–3,000 or more depending upon the disease/medical condition studied) and are aimed at being the definitive assessment of how effective the drug is, in comparison with current ‘gold standard’ treatment.
  • Phase IV studies involve the safety surveillance and ongoing technical support of a drug after it receives permission to be sold.

Center Launches Video-Driven Website For Patients In Research Studies


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Video thumbnailsA non-profit that aims to educate and inform about research studies in the United States has begun a new initiative called “Speak Out, But Speak Smart.”

The Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation launched a website for the program this week. It uses interactive video to educate study participants about the influence of word-of-mouth communications – good and bad – on research studies.

Here is the new site’s premise:


The site also includes a short glossary of terms, links to more educational materials and information on the research process.

The center was founded in 2003. Its mission, as defined at its website, is to educate and inform “the public, patients, medical/research communities, the media, and policy makers about clinical research participation and the role that each party plays as a participant in the process.”

The CISCRP website includes extensive information for anyone considering participating in a research study, as well as research professionals.

To learn more about Synergyst, please visit the Synergyst Research website.

Report: Tailor Research Recruitment Materials to Hispanic Audience


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TelevisionHealthcare providers need to consider both language and the information needs of Hispanic patients when preparing educational materials for research studies, a new study showed.

The Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla., in an attempt to create a DVD to encourage Hispanics to participate in cancer clinical trials, surveyed a focus group of cancer survivors and came up with some significant conclusions.

The study found that language barriers and the cultural concept that doctors – and not patients – guide treatment decisions may account for low participation in research studies among Hispanics.

Using that information, researchers developed a DVD and printed materials designed to empower patients.

“We found that Hispanic patients who prefer information in Spanish had different informational needs and concerns than non-Hispanic patients,” said study lead author Gwendolyn P. Quinn, Ph.D., scientific director of the Survey Methods Core Facility and member of the Health Outcomes and Behavior Program at Moffitt.

“Keeping that in mind, we developed educational materials using a social marketing approach, which targets a specific audience instead of creating a generic product for everyone. This approach increases the chances a patient may relate to the material, making their behavior change more likely.”

To learn more about Synergyst, please visit the Synergyst Research website.

Making Your Meetings Useful


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Meeting tableFast Company magazine recently surveyed some of the world’s most-creative people for their ideas on improving the bane of most offices – the meeting.

The report noted that the average office worker spends more than 200 hours a year in meetings, and it included the established basics for a successful meeting: Be prepared, have a leader, have an agenda, set a fixed start and end time, have a conclusion and make a plan to follow up.

But the web post looked to go beyond the mundane, coming up with 10 strategies from business leaders and gurus worldwide:

  1. Pretend you’ve failed: Imagine everything that could go wrong with a new product or service, the take steps to fix problem areas.
  2. Keep it novel: Have a meeting in somewhere new, to stimulate exploratory thinking.
  3. Pause: Take at least a moment to meditate on the way to meetings, to open your mind.
  4. Don’t squander youth: Listen to younger workers.
  5. Say it in five words: Require everyone in the meeting to distill the problem to be solved in a meeting down to five words.
  6. Think like a movie director: Replace the typical agenda and decorum with movie-like passion and conflict.
  7. Get them laughing: A little humor from the leader of a meeting warms up the room and increases the leader’s stature.
  8. Bring something to the table: Require people in meetings to be prepared to contribute, and leaders should encourage it.
  9. Be like a talk show host: Leaders should realize the length of the human attention span, and plan breaks (like commercial breaks on a talk show).
  10. Use the meeting to create more meetings: Never leave a meeting without getting the names of two new people to meet.

The Fast Company post was written by Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield, co-authors of The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do It Well.

To learn more about Synergyst, please visit the Synergyst Research website.

Fast Company Magazine Celebrates Creativity in Business


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Logo for the Fast Company 100 Most Creative listFast Company magazine has released its fifth annual list of the 100 most creative people in business, and it includes people from industries as diverse as television, automaking, retailing and social media.

Nate Silver, the New York Times blogger who has taken data analysis to a new level, was the top-ranked person on the list. His blog, FiveThirtyEight, had highly accurate predictions of last year’s elections, but he emphasized the need for creative thinking, going beyond the limitations of data, in an interview with Fast Company.

The top of the list also includes some familiar names, including actor Bryan Cranston from the acclaimed show “Breaking Bad,” and companies, including the National Football League, where Tracey Bleczinski, the vice president for consumer products, was mentioned for the rapid growth in women’s branded NFL apparel.

Fast Company has compiled multimedia presentations and lists of what it calls “precise, actionable ideas” for business.

“The list is just the beginning, too,” writes Tyler Gray. “Expect expanded stories, audio, and video on the people we’ve featured here and ongoing coverage of their creative endeavors, plus ongoing social conversations about the topics raised by our Most Creative People.”

To learn more about Synergyst, please visit the Synergyst Research website.

Partnerships for Medical Practice

new DCT logoDiscovery Clinical Trials is looking to expand its presence in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley.

The San Antonio-based company works with physician groups to provide a turnkey joint venture to manage clinics’ research departments, providing marketing, legal, financial, recruitment and regulatory services to strengthen and increase physician groups’ clinical research capabilities.

Discovery Clinical Trials currently has partnerships with doctors in Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Mission, and San Antonio, as well as Orlando, Fla. (Click here to see a list of current studies and locations.)

The Rio Grande Valley market, with its large and diverse population, is a natural fit for the company, which has been recognized on the Inc 500|5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing privately owned companies for the past three years.
Trudy Madan, chief executive officer of Discovery Clinical Trials, notes that research studies can have multiple benefits for physicians and their patients.

“Conducting a research study can supplement a practice’s income as an ancillary revenue opportunity,” she says. “It also offers opportunities for patients to receive additional healthcare at no cost, from study-related medications to lab tests.”

About 2 percent of the U.S. patient population and only 4 percent of physicians get involved with research studies each year, according to the Center for Information and Study on Clinical Research Participation.

Low participation delays the progress of bringing new medications to the market and ultimately make them more expensive, the center reported. In addition, polls show that almost 90 percent of people who take part in studies would be willing to participate again.

Discovery Clinical Trials has formed partnerships for research studies with both specialists and general practitioners. To date, the company has worked with more than 300 physicians and clinics across the nation, on an average of 150 studies a year. (Visit the DCT website for a list of specialties.)

“Our partnerships remove the roadblocks to research,” Madan says. “We have the experience to handle everything from finding the studies to recruiting participants. Our model allows the physicians to focus on the research and their patients.

“We take the hassles out of research.”

To learn more about Synergyst, please visit the Synergyst Research website.

Survey: Consumers Prefer to See Online Ads Tailored Toward Them


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Keyboard with a BUY keyMore than four in 10 consumers say they would rather see online advertising targeted to their interests, rather than ads for random products, according to a new study.

The report, prepared by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the Digital Advertising Alliance, showed that 40.5 percent of the 1,000 people in the survey preferred targeted ads, while 27.6 percent said they were content to see both targeted and random ads.

Just 16.1 percent preferred random ads.

The study showed that 75.4 percent of the people in the survey would rather get free ad-supported content, compared to 9.3 percent who would rather pay for ad-free content.

In addition, 47.3 percent of the respondents opposed a law that “restricted how data is used for online advertising, but also potentially reduced the availability of free content such as blogs and video sites.”

Other highlights of the report, which is summarized at the Marketing Charts blog:

  • Almost 60 percent said an online ad had helped them find a new offer or product.
  • Half the people in the survey said an online ad had either helped them save money on a purchase or save time finding that item.
  • More than 40 percent said they had bought something because they saw or clicked on an online ad.

Learn more about what we do at the Synergyst Research website.

Beating the IQ myth


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Can we get smarter?Can you make yourself smarter?

Researchers are finding more and more flaws with the long-held belief that we are born with a certain level of intelligence that remains the same throughout our lives. They are saying, essentially, that we can raise our levels of intelligence – every single day.

Two studies were highlighted in a recent post on the Fast Company blog, and the upshot was that “relentless persistence,” developing new habits and rewiring our brains, can make us more intelligent and ultimately more successful.

The blog post highlighted three things we can do every day to make ourselves smarter, all based on the concept of relentless persistence and habit-building:

Master the art of habits: Doing something persistently and consistently increases our intelligence levels.  Stanford University researchers B.J. Fogg has developed a free five-day system called Tiny Habits that helps develop new habits through small steps.

Engage in percentage thinking: Look at past results when we’re setting goals, and use them to create success. For example, if we set a goal of 10 new customers from 10 new meetings, and the first one falls through, we fail. Instead, we need to understand that in the past it took 100 new meetings to get 10 new customers and pursue the goal of 10 percent return.

Exercise: The habit of working out is, according to Charles Duhigg’s book “The Power of Habit,” is a keystone habit, a way to develop other good habits. Duhigg, a writer at the New York Times, took an in-depth look at why habits exist and how they can be changed.

Learn more about what we do at the Synergyst Research website.

Digital Advertising Spending Reaches $99 Billion in 2012


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Digital advertisingOnline advertising accounted for almost 20 percent of all advertising worldwide in 2012, a total of $99 billion, according to a new report.

At the same time, print media continued its steady decline, falling to 24 percent of ad expenditures in 2012, according to “This Year, Next Year: Interaction 2013,” a report by media investment management company GroupM. When digital advertising first was tracked consistently, in 1995, print made up 48 percent of the total.

The $99 billion in online advertising in 2012 was a 16.2 percent increase from 2011 and is now 19.5 percent of all advertising worldwide.

GroupM projects online advertising spending will grow to $113.5 billion this year, including $39.7 billion in the United States. That represents 25.4 percent of all advertising in the United States.

Learn more about Synergyst Research at its website.