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Clinical trials are a type of research done by a team of professionals with the purpose of answering a particular medical question. A clinical trial investigator heads the group of researchers and is responsible for the outcome of the study. Since clinical trials use human subjects to study a medicine or medical procedure, the role of lead investigator is high profile and demanding.
Many clinical trial investigators are private-practice physicians, and others are scientists. There are several steps required to become a clinical trial investigator, the first of which is to be a medical or scientific professional. Doctors choose to become a lead investigator for a variety of reasons. Special interest in a particular medicine or medical treatment often creates a desire for more in-depth study.
If you want to become a clinical trial investigator, you should first explore what it takes to head up a large research project. Time may be the most important commodity needed by a lead investigator. This type of research usually demands extra time seeing patients to closely monitor their condition and progress. Additional hours are spent organizing staff, collecting and analyzing data, and solving any problems that arise.
Consider the additional space and equipment that may be necessary to complete a clinical trial. Examination rooms must be available to see patients participating in the research. A secure storage area may be necessary for keeping medicine, files, or equipment locked up. You might need to acquire special equipment to follow the protocol of the trial. Medical research typically requires basic physical exam tools, and some studies involve x-ray or other special equipment.
Stick with what you know when applying to become a clinical trial investigator. Select a study that lines up with your medical background and experience to prevent problems. You are best equipped to analyze data and follow protocols in your area of expertise.
Compliance with government regulations regarding clinical research is vital when trying to become a clinical trial investigator. The study site must comply with rules presented by government, scientific, and medical officials. Clinical investigators should follow good clinical practice (GCP) to complete their research with integrity. GCP refers to the clinical trial process as it relates to patient treatment, trial procedures, and study reliability.
A team of researchers conduct a clinical trial, so the lead investigator must have outstanding management and organizational abilities. Practicing physicians typically have the business acumen needed to manage a medical research program. Supervisory and leadership skills may seem mundane, but they are vital to the success of a clinical trial. The lead investigator must be able to follow strict regulations during medical research projects in order to maintain the integrity of the study.