Cross-partnership between sponsors and CROs for the collection and analysis of clinical trial data are complex. As a result there are a number of issues encountered during the running of trial.
As with many projects, standardization projects like CDISC is a huge undertake. It requires resources, technology and knowledge-transfer. The industry (FDA for example) has been working on standardization for years but on September 2013, it became official, in which the FDA released a ‘Position Statement‘.
According to the WHO, data collection is defined as the ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of health data necessary for designing, implementing, and evaluating public health prevention programs.
Sources of data: primarily case report books or (e)CRF forms, laboratory data and patient report data or diaries.
Challenges of data collection
It is important for the CROs / service providers to be aware of the potential challenges they may face when using different data collection methods for partnership clinical studies. Having several clients does not mean having several standards or naming conventions. This is the main reason why CDISC is here. So why are many CROs or service providers not using CDISC standards?
Another challenge is time limitations. Some clinical trials run for just a few weeks / months.
It may be found difficult to understand the partnership in the amount of time they have. Hence, most CROs and service providers prefer to perform manual mapping at the end of the trial, hence, re-work and manual work.
Funding also plays a key challenge for CDISC-compliance data collection study. Small researchers or biotechnology companies that do not have the resources in-house, out-sourced this task to CROs or service providers and are not interested whether it is compliance as long as it is save them money. But would it save money now instead of later in the close-out phase?
If there is a shortage of funding this may not allow the CRO or service provider all the opportunities that would assist them in capturing the information they need as per CDISC standards.
We really don’t have the level of expertise or the person dedicated to this that would bring, you know, the whole thing to fruition on the scale in which it’s envisioned – Researcher
Role of the Library
There is a clear need for libraries (GL) to move beyond passively providing technology to embrace the changes within the industry. The librarian functions as one of the most important of medical educators. This role is frequently unrecognized, and for that reason, too little attention is given to this role. There has been too little attention paid to the research role that should be played by the librarian. With the development of new methods of information storage and dissemination, it is imperative that the persons primarily responsible for this function should be actively engaged in research. We have little information at the present time as to the relative effectiveness of these various media. We need research in this area. Librarians should assume an active role in incorporating into their area of responsibility the various types of storage media. [http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC232677/]
Review and Revise
At the review and revise stage it might be useful for the CRO or service provider to consider what the main issues are when collecting and organizing the data on the study. Some of these issues include: ensuring sponsors, partners and key stakeholders were engaged in the scoping phase and defining its purpose; the objectives have been considered; the appropriate data collection methods have been used; the data has been verified through the use of multiple sources and that sponsors have approved the data that is used in the final clinical data report.
Current data management systems must be fundamentally improved so that they can meet the capacity demand for secure storage and transmission of research data. And while there can be no definitive tools and guideline, it is certain that we must start using CDISC-standards from the data collection step to avoid re-inventing the wheel each time a new sponsor or clinical researcher ask you to run their clinical trial.
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