Economist Report Issues Call to Action: Invest in Clinical Research Workforce

New Report Highlights Factors Holding Back Clinical Trial Innovation

New Report Highlights Factors Holding Back Clinical Trial Innovation

A lack of workforce training is hindering the advancement of the clinical trial industry, contributing to a stubborn personnel shortage, and damaging the industry’s reputation in the court of public opinion.

Those are among the findings of “The Innovation Imperative: The Future of Drug Development Part II: Barriers, Enablers and Calls to Action,” a report by The Economist Intelligence Network.

Designating the report a “call to action,” David Humphreys, head of health policy and clinical evidence practice at EIU Healthcare, warns industry not to forget the human factor as it charts the future.

“While high-profile topics like big data and collaborative partnerships garner much attention, with good reason, we should not lose sight of less hyped but equally critical issues like the necessity of providing the workforce with the skills needed to adapt to whatever may come in the future,” he says.

Even as powerful new technologies and innovative best practices flood the clinical trial space, there’s a serious risk that an ill-prepared workforce won’t be able to harness these new tools, experts say.

“We have exponential growth in demand for research and patients, but we have linear growth in the people doing the work, and the gap is getting larger,” Jim Kremidas, executive director of the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), says in the new report.

The good news comes in the form of the wealth of new data being created today thanks to technical advances. Unfortunately, this is also the source of the bad news. The problem? “What do you do with [these] data? As an industry we don’t know what to do with it, because we’ve never had it before,” says Bernard Munos of FasterCures.

According to the report, part of the solution may be to bring in data specialists, “but much will rely on training the existing and future members of the drug development, regulatory, and payer workforce.”

Kremidas adds, “There’s a gap in more than just data analytics. How do we build people’s competencies? We need to start thinking about how we will build the workforce.”

Author: Michael Causey