A clinical data coordinator is an information specialist who manages data for ongoing clinical trials. His or her responsibilities include ensuring the quality and legality of the clinical procedures and recording and managing the information from the experiment. She or he may also need to collaborate with researchers to develop information systems for the clinical trial.
There are several ethical and scientific standards in place to ensure that clinical trials are accurate, reliable, and do not take advantage of the test subjects. Often, a clinical data coordinator will be involved in making sure the clinical trial design and execution follows these guidelines. For example, one ethical imperative is that all information about the people participating in the trial be kept confidential. Part of the coordinator’s job is ensuring this information is safe and only accessed by researchers. He or she is also responsible for watching out for the safety of test subjects, as well as making sure they are treated with respect.
A clinical trial or experiment generates a huge amount of information. The clinical data coordinator must make sure all of this information is recorded accurately and stored in an organized and easy to retrieve system. He or she may also be called upon to help analyze the data after the trial is over.
To start, the clinical data coordinator must record information about each test subject, such as their age, gender, and medical history. As the trial progresses, he or she must also record how the test subjects respond to the experimental treatment. She or he may also be in charge of following up with test subjects months or even years after the experiment is over and recording that information as well.
More and more often, researchers who conduct clinical trials use electronic systems to record and store data. A clinical data coordinator must be familiar with computer systems and able to use electronic health software. Sometimes, researchers and the clinical data coordinator will collaborate to create a program for data storage, other times they will use an existing program.
A clinical data coordinator needs to be knowledgeable about medical concepts, diseases, and treatments. She or he should also have a sturdy background in information science and know how to manage, record, and possibly analyze data. A bachelor’s degree is necessary for a clinical data coordinator position, and many people also have a master’s degree, most often in information science.