An interview with Carlo Noble, RPSGT/Sleep Lab Coordinator at NeuroTrials Research Atlanta’s Leading Early-Late Phase Clinical Research Site

October 31, 2019

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NeuroTrials Research is a clinical research company founded by Dr. Russell Rosenberg in 1997. For the past two decades, NeuroTrials  has been providing research services for leading medical device companies, pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals such as Johns Hopkins Hospital, a teaching hospital and biomedical research facility, among others.

With nearly two decades of experience in sleep medicine research, Mr. Carlo Noble, RPSGT and Sleep Lab Coordinator for NeuroTrials Research, understands the value of great relationships. By fostering strong relationships with his own team, and with Neurovirtual as a partner, NeuroTrials Research is one of the preeminent research facilities in the country. Much of the staff at NeuroTrials has been with the company for 15+ years, and there is a mutual respect amongst the team that creates a cohesive working environment. Accountability, transparency, and the willingness to accept constructive criticism allows the team at NeuroTrials to continue to deliver a high-quality product to their research sponsors.

By partnering with Neurovirtual, Carlo and his team can build an equally strong relationship with their PSG vendor as they do with their research sponsors. The ability of the Neurovirtual PSG software to adapt to the requirements of their research sponsors allows for stronger results, benefiting all parties, particularly the public, with new and better devices and proven treatments.

Dr. Rosenberg brought Neurovirtual to Carlo’s attention, and Carlo felt very impressed by the unique features of the Neurovirtual platform, including unlimited software upgrades and updates for the life of their equipment, and most importantly solid technical support. Carlo mentions in the interview that customer service is the single most important aspect of operating equipment (to him). Carlo gives examples in the interview where the Neurovirtual system has been able to save him and his team lots of time and made it easier for them to deliver their work without delay. Carlo credits this to having a high level of support and an intuitive user interface.

Interview with Carlo Noble, RSGT:

Neurovirtual: Carlo, can you tell us a little about NeuroTrials and what you do here?

“We deal with pharmaceutical companies, performing research trials on medications, as well as on medical and health devices.”

Carlo: NeuroTrials does clinical research, and has been around for over 20 years, with Dr. Russell Rosenberg as the founder. We deal with pharma companies doing research trials on devices, medications, sometimes just sleep parameters like questionnaires, Actiwatches …  Anything that’s been on the market, we’ve probably had a hand [in vetting]. We also deal with clinical CPAP therapy. We’ve worked with different hospitals and organizations like Johns Hopkins, European companies, Japanese companies, going back 17 years with my experience since I’ve been working with NeuroTrials.

Neurovirtual: Can you give us a brief history of NeuroTrials, your personal experience, and tell us about your clinical investigators (the doctors):

“Dr. Russell Rosenberg, Dr. Michael Lacey, and Dr. Matthews Gwynn are the primary clinical investigators here.”

Carlo: Dr. Rosenberg is a Ph.D.in psychology, Dr. Lacey is our sleep specialist and neurologist, and Dr. Gwynn is a neurologist. Dr. Rosenberg is the face of NeuroTrials and the company as a whole; he is the founder. Dr. Lacey and Dr. Gwynn are stakeholders and partners. There are other physicians involved but not named. We’ve existed in this facility since 2008, and I have been with the company in this role since 2002. Most of the personnel here have been here for 15+ years, including office personnel and study coordinators, and I’m the longest tenured sleep tech and manage the facility. Dr. Rosenberg also owns the Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine and Technology .

The fundamentals of medication and device trials often go through NeuroTrials before they are approved by the FDA. We’ve been involved in many medications and devices that I prefer not to name.

Neurovirtual: What sets NeuroTrials apart from other research facilities – for instance, here in the Atlanta area?

“In one word: personnel.”

Carlo: Dr. Rosenberg is very well known worldwide. He and Dr. Lacey, they’ve been expert witnesses to some trials, Dr. Rosenberg has given many talks and many interviews on local and national news and conferences, even overseas. It’s our personnel, the organization, the checks and balances we have in the sleep lab and our offices. It’s a team effort. I like to stay away from the word “family,” because it is a very professional environment, but there is a lot of respect. The team takes criticism very well, we deal with audits, and everything is very transparent with the sponsors of our studies, and I believe that is what differentiates NeuroTrials. There have been many research labs when I started in 2002 [that ] no longer exist, but NeuroTrials is still going strong.

Neurovirtual: On your website, it mentions several studies that you are working with. In your opinion, which is the one you find most interesting?

“Narcolepsy… I have seen the benefits of treatment in the quality of the subjects’ lives.”

Carlo: Narcolepsy in general, because I’ve known people who have been diagnosed, and when I have run a study with previous narcolepsy subjects, there is a specific fear that they share with me because they don’t know when paralysis can occur, and when they can fall asleep. They feel handicapped with everyday activities (without treatment). I’ve had subjects clinging to the wall to prevent the possibility of falling, etc. It is still not very well known, and when you see someone who takes naps in a car, you may attribute it to just being tired or because it is early morning, but following a sleep study, they turned out to be narcoleptic. It can be a struggle. Without medication, these subjects would not be able to lead normal lives, and I have seen the benefits of treatment in the quality of the subjects’ lives.

Neurovirtual: What prompted you and your team to seek out new PSG equipment with Neurovirtual?

“Dr. Rosenberg met one of the Neurovirtual sales rep, and he brought it to my attention…”

Carlo: We had a lot of troubleshooting that started to become necessary with our current system, and it almost became a daily and nightly problem. The old equipment we had was over 10 years old, and we had it even before moving to our current facility in 2008, and the sleep techs weren’t happy, and I knew they weren’t. It made our jobs harder, the fact that we had to troubleshoot (often). There was a lot of electrical interference, and the capabilities we needed for research trials we were conducting required that we upgrade our sleep systems. It just came time where we needed to eliminate the extra hardship on the sleep techs, so I started asking them which platforms they had worked with in the past, and it was actually Dr. Rosenberg who met one of the Neurovirtual sales representative, and he brought it to my attention. It definitely caught my interest because I wasn’t familiar with Neurovirtual and their solid offering[s].

Neurovirtual: How many Neurovirtual systems do you have at NeuroTrials?

 “Ten systems.”

 Neurovirtual: What type of issues did you encounter with the old equipment and software?

 “It was archaic and often had to be calibrated and reset for every study, which was very time consuming.”

Neurovirtual: How did the NV product address some of the issues for you? Which key things did Neurovirtual help you with?

“Customer service. That’s the one thing I’ve always been a big proponent of.”

Carlo: Can you help us with what we need? A lot of it was the montages or the mapping, depending on the sponsor’s needs on the PSG. That’s been a great plus compared to other platforms that the techs have dealt with before; they say that Neurovirtual has been the easiest to work with. With Neurovirtual, we know that we are not losing any data, because everything exists on the recording, which a lot of systems don’t do. Once you start recording (on another system), you cannot make any changes, whereas Neurovirtual gives you the option to make adjustments, such as channels or belts, without having to pause or change the recording, and with Neurovirtual, we never have to worry about that. It is very user-friendly.

Neurovirtual: How does Neurovirtual compare to other brands you have worked with in the past from the perspective of costs?

“[C]ompetitors  have much higher costs of ownership.”

Carlo: Being present at many conferences, I deal with a lot of vendors, and I found out that competitors have much higher costs of ownership. They charge for software licenses separate from the device, and upgrades are also charged, whereas with Neurovirtual they are complimentary, which is a huge cost savings.

Neurovirtual: How has the flexibility of the Neurovirtual software platform benefited NeuroTrials?

“Some sponsors’ requests are very specific, and we haven’t come to a point where we couldn’t do it with the Neurovirtual system”

Carlo: The equipment and software we have from Neurovirtual has been very easy to use for myself and my staff. Some of our sponsors ask for specific mapping of channels, specific reports, and if we couldn’t find it, it was always easy for us to call Neurovirtual technical support and have it taken care of, often [the] same day . A lot of it deals with what can we use with the system we have now, like PAP integration. We didn’t have to pay for any upgrades; we were able to call technical support and get it implemented at no cost due to the support policy Neurovirtual has in place.

The software is very user-friendly. Neurovirtual customizes to our needs. Some sponsors’ requests are very specific, and we haven’t come to a point where we couldn’t perform their requests with the Neurovirtual system.

Neurovirtual: Would you recommend NV to others in your field?

“Yes, I would recommend it to anybody in the sleep field.”

Carlo: Yes, whether it is research or clinical diagnostics. The user-friendliness, 24/7 tech support, customization, and even the [hardware] design is very intuitive. We have radiology and cancer centers on either side of our office, and from a technical standpoint the worst thing you can have is electrical interference with your studies, and we’ve never had that with our Neurovirtual systems.

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