Clinical Data Management (CDM) is a critical phase in clinical research, which leads to generation of high-quality, reliable, and statistically sound data from clinical trials. This helps to produce a drastic reduction in time from drug development to marketing. Team members of CDM are actively involved in all stages of clinical trial right from inception to completion. They should have adequate process knowledge that helps maintain the quality standards of CDM processes. Various procedures in CDM including Case Report Form (CRF) designing, CRF annotation, database designing, data-entry, data validation, discrepancy management, medical coding, data extraction, and database locking are assessed for quality at regular intervals during a trial. In the present scenario, there is an increased demand to improve the CDM standards to meet the regulatory requirements and stay ahead of the competition by means of faster commercialization of product. With the implementation of regulatory compliant data management tools, CDM team can meet these demands. Additionally, it is becoming mandatory for companies to submit the data electronically. CDM professionals should meet appropriate expectations and set standards for data quality and also have a drive to adapt to the rapidly changing technology.
According to a recent global survey India is the second most preferred destination for outsourcing clinical trials and clinical research services second to China with Russia being at third place. India has the advantage because of large patient pool, faster enrollment, and low cost.
Already big pharma MNC's like Eli Lilly, Aventis, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, Merck, Amgen, Eisai and Bristol-Myers Squibb are conducting clinical trials in India. There are about 300 domestic companies and 100 multinationals doing clinical trials in India. Students of pharmacy, life-sciences and even doctors are looking at clinical research as a career option, as companies are recruiting even trainees at salaries of about Rs 2.5 lakh per annum. Novartis has recently opened their Clinical research Unit at Hyderabad which in future may employ 5000 professionals. Paraxel International and Genzyme have also opened new centers at Hyderabad and Bangalore respectively. Domestic Indian companies are also expanding their clinical research and data management domains with acquisitions and new centers.
CDM has evolved in response to the ever-increasing demand from pharmaceutical companies to fast-track the drug development process and from the regulatory authorities to put the quality systems in place to ensure generation of high-quality data for accurate drug evaluation. To meet the expectations, there is a gradual shift from the paper-based to the electronic systems of data management. Developments on the technological front have positively impacted the CDM process and systems, thereby leading to encouraging results on speed and quality of data being generated. At the same time, CDM professionals should ensure the standards for improving data quality. CDM, being a specialty in itself, should be evaluated by means of the systems and processes being implemented and the standards being followed. The biggest challenge from the regulatory perspective would be the standardization of data management process across organizations, and development of regulations to define the procedures to be followed and the data standards. From the industry perspective, the biggest hurdle would be the planning and implementation of data management systems in a changing operational environment where the rapid pace of technology development outdates the existing infrastructure. In spite of these, CDM is evolving to become a standard-based clinical research entity, by striking a balance between the expectations from and constraints in the existing systems, driven by technological developments and business demands.
We provide Clinical Data Management course in two levels as Professional Designation for undergraduate students and Advance PG Program for Graduated Students. The details of the courses are as below:
In a CDM team, different roles and responsibilities are attributed to the team members. The minimum educational requirement for a team member in CDM should be graduation in life science and knowledge of computer applications. Ideally, medical coders should be medical graduates. However, in the industry, paramedical graduates are also recruited as medical coders. Some key roles are essential to all CDM teams. The list of roles given below can be considered as minimum requirements for a CDM team:
The data manager is responsible for supervising the entire CDM process. The data manager prepares the DMP, approves the CDM procedures and all internal documents related to CDM activities. Controlling and allocating the database access to team members is also the responsibility of the data manager. The database programmer/designer performs the CRF annotation, creates the study database, and programs the edit checks for data validation. He/she is also responsible for designing of data entry screens in the database and validating the edit checks with dummy data. The medical coder will do the coding for adverse events, medical history, co-illnesses, and concomitant medication administered during the study. The clinical data coordinator designs the CRF, prepares the CRF filling instructions, and is responsible for developing the DVP and discrepancy management. All other CDM-related documents, checklists, and guideline documents are prepared by the clinical data coordinator. The quality control associate checks the accuracy of data entry and conducts data audits. Sometimes, there is a separate quality assurance person to conduct the audit on the data entered. Additionally, the quality control associate verifies the documentation pertaining to the procedures being followed. The data entry personnel will be tracking the receipt of CRF pages and performs the data entry into the database.