The Clinical Evidence Reference Center Project (CERC)

What is it?
The Smith & Nephew Clinical Evidence Reference Center project is a strategic, global effort designed to support collaborative clinical research around our greatest evidence needs. In building the Reference Center Community, we are partnering with leading academic surgeons and scientists around our mutual interests. We look to find commonality between our potential collaborator’s academic interests and our targeted pursuits. Independent proposals are taken through a simplified internal review process by which funding is determined. As our relationship strengthens, this process becomes a seamless mechanism for ongoing research. With a strategic focus in supporting investigator initiated studies, the scientific evidence generated from this venture is coming from our global community of collaborators. Through this project, we hope to support our collaborators in their scientific inquiries and sustain our standing as leader in evidence-based claims.

Why is it important? As healthcare delivery models change, so must the industries that are integral to these systems. Value-based healthcare is a growing delivery model founded on patient reported outcomes. Several of our Reference Centers are also engaged in improving how patient reported outcomes are gathered, collected, and utilized in orthopedic care. We are leading the technology advances in this effort with computer adaptive testing measures supported by validation and feasibility studies.

How are sites selected? An objective scoring system has been developed to assess each institution’s infrastructure as it pertains to clinical research. Once all selected clinics have been evaluated, a shortlist of high scoring clinics is presented to the Reference Center Review Committee (CRC). This internal board is comprised of experts in clinical strategy, clinical research, statistics, clinical operations, and compliance.

Institutions approved by the CRC are then approached for a preliminary clinical research meeting to determine if there is mutual interest in collaborative projects. Only when research projects and activities of mutual interest can be identified and initiated is a clinic considered to be a Reference Center.

How many Reference Centers are there?
The Clinical Evidence Reference Center project began as a pilot study in 2017 geographically focused in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada. By the years end, there were 16 participating institutions with the addition of a few other European countries. In early 2018, the first sites in the US were recruited to the program and our EU sites continued to grow, doubling the number of collaborative sites. By the start of 2019, there were over 40 centers world-wide.

What is the ultimate goal?
Participating surgeons at our Clinical Evidence Reference Centers are a part of a global community of academic surgeons, scientists, and clinicians with an interest in collaborative medical research. In this project we will also aim to improve the quality of evidence behind our products and our evidence-based claims, support our surgeons in achieving their academic goals on the podium and in publication, and stream-line the entire process between proposal submission and publication.

Interested in learning more?
Please contact Diarmuid De Faoite (Global Clinical Evidence Reference Center Manager)

Useful links:
Investigator-initiated study: areas of interest and proposal forms.
Manuscript preparation support: information and forms.
InVentures (new product concepts) program