Acronym for This, Acronym for That

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Question: What is RTSM?

The recent CBI IRT Conference in Philadelphia made clear that a new acronym -- "RTSM"-- is coming into popular use to describe IRT systems. What is RTSM? And do we really need another acronym?


Our industry started using the term "Interactive Voice Response Systems (IVRS)" in the early 90's to describe the typical phone-based systems used to capture IRT data for clinical trials. As use of web systems expanded, the term "Interactive Web Response Systems (IWRS)" sprung into being. To facilitate references to the two systems, vendors began using "IVRS/IWRS" to describe their product. Inevitably, the term "IxRS" came into use--an acronym which is now trademarked and used by only that one company.

IRT Widely Used

Finally, the term "Interactive Response Technology (IRT)" leapt in to fill the gap, and is now the one most commonly used to refer to the technology for managing subjects and clinical trial materials during a study. Or at least it was, until ...

The question was asked, why use a term like IRT, which describes the technology but not its function in the clinical trials industry? After all, IRT systems are used widely in other industries, for other functions - for example, we interact with our bank accounts via the web or phone or mobile devices.

Randomization Trial Supply Management

"RTSM" stands for "Randomization and Trial Supply Management". This reflects two of the major functions of a clinical trials IRT -- randomizing subjects, and managing drug supply. This, at least, is a good thing. The downside of the new acronym is that it doesn't go far enough -- it labels us too narrowly and fails to highlight many important key functions.

Maybe we should come up with a new acronym that reflects the full subject management services that IRTs provide. How about "Subject Management And Randomization with Trial Supply or "SMARTS?" Okay, enough already.

Veracity Logic's Validated Technology

Whichever acronym you choose: IVRS, IWRS, IRT, or RTMS -- or even SMARTS! (we’re really only kidding about this one), Veracity Logic provides the validated technology for screening and randomizing subjects, recording subject activities, and managing the drug supply for your study.

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