On a previous article that I wrote in 2012, I mentioned 4 programming languages that you should be learning when it comes to the development of clinical trials. Why is this important, you may ask? Clinical Trials is a method to determine if a new drug or treatment will work on disease or will it be beneficial to patients. If you have never written a line of code in your life, you are in the right place. If you have some programming experience, but interesting in learning clinical programming, this information can be helpful.
But shouldn’t I be Learning ________?
Here are the latest eClinical programming languages you should learn:
1. SAS®: Data analysis and result reporting are two major tasks to SAS® programers. Currently, SAS is offering certifications as a Clinical Trials Programmer. Some of the skills you should learned are:
- clinical trials process
- accessing, managing, and transforming clinical trials data
- statistical procedures and macro programming
- reporting clinical trials results
- validating clinical trial data reporting
2. ODM/XML: Operational Data Modeling or ODM uses XML to build the standard data exchange models that are being developed to support the data acquisition, exchange and archiving of operational data.
3. CDISC Language: Yes. This is not just any code. This is the standard language on clinical trials and you should be learning it right now. The future is here now. The EDC code as we know it will eventually go away as more and more vendors try to adapt their systems and technologies to meet rules and regulations. Some of the skills you should learn:
- Annotation of variables and variable values – SDTM aCRF
- Define XML – CDISC SDTM datasets
- ADaM datasets – CDISC ADaM datasets
CDISC has established data standards to speed-up data review and FDA is now suggesting that soon this will become the norm. Pharmaceuticals, bio-technologies companies and many sponsors within clinical research are now better equipped to improve CDISC implementation.
Everyone should learn to code
Therefore, SAS® and XML are now cooperating. XML Engine in SAS® v9.0 is built up so one can import a wide variety of XML documentation. SAS® does what is does best – statistics, and XML does what it does best – creating report–quality tables by taking advantage of the full feature set of the publishing software. This conversation can produce report-quality tables in an automated hands-off/light out process.
Standards are more than just CDISC
If you are looking for your next career in Clinical Data Management, then SAS and CDISC SDTM should land you into the right path of career development and job security.
Conclusion: Learn the basics and advanced SAS clinical programming concepts such as reading and manipulating clinical data. Using the clinical features and basic SAS programming concepts of clinical trials, you will be able to import ADAM, CDISC or other standards for domain structure and contents into the metadata, build clinical domain target table metadata from those standards, create jobs to load clinical domains, validate the structure and content of the clinical domains based on the standards, and to generate CDISC standard define.xml files that describes the domain tables for clinical submissions.
Anayansi Gamboa has an extensive background in clinical data management as well as experience with different EDC systems including Oracle InForm, InForm Architect, Central Designer, CIS, Clintrial, Medidata Rave, Central Coding, OpenClinica – Open Source and Oracle Clinical.
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