The clinical research workforce is facing a transformation brought about by the rapid changes in how clinical trials are conducted.
New roles are already emerging, while traditional roles are evolving as decentralization and the technology to support the trend require new skills to effectively manage a trial where researchers and patient may rarely, if ever, meet in person.
A new whitepaper from the Association of Clinical Research Professionals details these trends, providing a glimpse at what it means for the workforce and what the industry – researchers and the companies that support them – must do to be ready for the fast arriving future.
“Spurred in part by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, [decentralized clinical trials] are bringing more technology to clinical research and along with it the promise of greater efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness,” says Jim Kremidas, ACRP’s executive director. “But to fully realize that potential, roles will need to evolve and operate differently to accommodate this new environment.”
Produced by a group that included representation from technology suppliers, contract research organizations, sites, and more, the whitepaper reached four major conclusions:
- The majority of clinical trials that implement decentralization, at least in the short term, will be hybrid trials, and aspects of decentralization (e.g. virtual visits) will be leveraged more often and receive more overall acceptance by industry due to COVID-19.
- Increased use of technology will impact nearly every role. But rather than being a threat to job roles, it will generate the need for the evolution of existing roles and bring unprecedented flexibility and efficiency.
- New roles likely to emerge include Tech Trainer for CROs, Site Tech Support, Remote Trial Coordinator, Decentralized Investigator, Virtual Patient Guide, and more.
- Technology training must be standard practice and written into each site manual and delegation log.
In addition to highlighting the growing use of technology – including remote monitoring devices — The Impact of Increased Technology Use on the Clinical Research Workforce defines fully decentralized and “hybrid” trials, discusses the impact of technology workforce roles and details the emerging new jobs.