Lead Developer, Cain Harland, joined Spiral many years ago and has been part of every web-based development the company has ever undertaken.
In 2011, Spiral founded Spinnaker Software and that same year Cain took part in his first clinical trial project, The Heat Trial. He has continued as lead developer for all Spinnaker trials since.
This year Cain had the opportunity to attend the ANZICS Winter Forum in Sydney. A quick trip across the Tasman with his wife was an extra bonus for Cain and the first time he had met many of the people that he works with on a daily basis.

In Cain’s words:
“I know them all well, I talk to them on the phone, get their enquiry tickets and emails and that works very well but it’s so great to actually meet them and put names to faces. Many of these people I have worked with for years. It is surprising how easy it is to work with people in another country or on the other side of the world, but always great to meet them personally. I think they were pleased to meet me as well!”

People or data?
“This was the first time I had been to a medical conference. I had studied science way back and when I arrived at the conference the difference between the science I had done and the studies we do now was very clear. I spend my days looking at data but that data involves people and that brings in a whole new perspective. It includes ethical concerns, wellbeing, personal feelings and very important outcomes, like life and death.”
“For my clients it is their passion to research and find answers to the challenges of their profession. But more than that, for us it’s about helping them help their patients. There is a more personal involvement for all with these trials and there’s a lot more to it that just collecting vast amounts of data. It was interesting to hear them talk about ethical concerns, how to get people involved in the trials and getting consent. The real challenge for them is that most of our trials are in ICU and their patients are in really bad shape. That puts a completely different perspective on each trial that I hadn’t spent too much time thinking about before.”

The little things make a difference
“I got some great feedback from people who actually use Spinnaker. Mostly it was about little things that people might have thought were too small to bother us with, but they were little things that would make their lives easier. And what was great is that many of these things are relatively easy, so we will be able to implement some of them over time. It was good to talk to the actual end user of the software because we talk mostly to the Project Managers. However, the Research Coordinator is on the floor in these various hospitals and they are actually recording the information at the patient bedside. Before going to the ANZICS Winter Forum, I wasn’t aware of their workflows and how they work. For example, being able to partially enter information and then come back to it later would be very useful and is something we can factor into our design and development.”
“It was great to hear first-hand how much people enjoy using Spinnaker, especially from people who have used alternative software. They were very positive about our product and they rate it highly. Some of the comparisons made it clear they appreciated the thought and care we put into our trials and our products. When you are in the development phase on numerous trials it is very easy to get focused on a series of details that need to be sorted out. Taking some time out to go to the ANZICS Winter Forum was a great opportunity to step back and get a big picture on what’s going in with our trials.”
Final words
“I am hoping I get an invite to attend the 2019 ANZICS Winter Forum, due to take place in Queenstown, New Zealand. Conferences are such a worthwhile opportunity in our industry.”

Cain Harland – Lead Developer Spinnaker.
cain@spiral.co.nz