State of the Industry: Established Competencies Will Drive Better Practices in Clinical Research

Ken Getz, Associate Professor and Director of Sponsored Research, Tufts CSDD

Ken Getz, Associate Professor and Director of Sponsored Research, Tufts CSDD

While the demands on clinical research professionals to deliver high-quality study data more quickly and efficiently have arguably never been greater, industry continues to shy away from adapting technologies and new best practices that could help lighten the load, experts say.

“There is a lot of work to be done to manage the disparate pieces” of the clinical trial business, says Ken Getz, an associate professor and director of the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development at Tufts University. “There are tremendous inefficiencies and fractured collaborative efforts” slowing real forward progress, he adds.

Today’s clinical research industry needs to better prepare for tomorrow with targeted education and an embrace of technology and other new competencies, adds Jim Kremidas, executive director of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP).

One solution: The adoption of agreed-upon core competencies for different clinical research team roles and the overall professionalization of the industry. “It is important that we acknowledge that a focus on competency helps to drive better practices,” Getz says. “For the longest time, we’ve looked at tenure as the primary criteria to determine whether an individual will perform successfully professionally, and we’ve learned time and time again that it’s much more about broad competency.”

Join Getz, Kremidas, and other industry leaders for a look at how process, technology, and workforce innovation are shaping the current and future state of clinical research at the ACRP 2017 Meeting & Expo session “The State of the Industry.” Getz and Kremidas will be joined by Elisa Cascade, President, Data Solutions, Drug Dev; Leanne Madre, Director of Strategy, Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative; and Terri Hinkley, Workforce Innovation Officer, ACRP. View Program & Schedule

ACRP 2017 Meeting & Expo

“We need a baseline of competency,” adds Kremidas. Experience in the form of tenure can be helpful, yet it alone does not prove a person is good at his or her job.

ACRP’s data show that, whether looking at a clinical research associate (monitor), clinical research coordinator, or some other industry role, the failure rate on competency exams is about the same for a professional with two years of experience compared to someone with five, 10, or even 30, Kremidas says. “What that says is tenure is not a solution,” he explains. Instead, industry needs to define core competencies and improve training for each role, and to give existing workers and prospective new entrants a clear path to learn and demonstrate their new competencies.

“Reducing the variance in training is likely to reduce performance errors, too,” Kremidas says.

Getting this right will provide a brighter career path even as it helps to ease the current workforce shortage of monitors. Up to now, industry has been “fuzzy” in how it defines roles and competencies, Kremidas notes.

Author: Michael Causey