The Association of Clinical Research Professionals

The Impact of Increased Technology Use on the Clinical Research Workforce

Increasing use of technology and broader adoption of decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) will require an unprecedented transformation of the clinical research workforce.

This white paper highlights recent trends in technology use in clinical trials; definitions of fully decentralized and “hybrid” trials; technology impacts on traditional workforce roles; and potential new roles likely to emerge.

Major conclusions include:

  • 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. For instance, in hybrid trials clinical research coordinators could potentially work from home one or more days per week when their patient interactions are virtual.
  • 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.

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