Who is a Clinical Data Analyst?
A clinical data analyst is one who develops, designs, implements and manages all data tracking systems and performs statistical analyses for determining efficiency of clinical trials and evaluating the resulting data.
The CDA is responsible for:
- Data integrity
- Data systems
- Adequacy of the clinical databases/studies
As a clinical data analyst, you will be responsible for the development and management of databases used by healthcare professionals. You will have to ensure that information for clinical trials is collected from databases, compiled and analyzed accurately. They get employed by healthcare associations, hospitals, medical facilities and physicians. Responsibilities include communication with data users, compilation of data, creation of reports, development of clinical applications and monitoring data usage. They often work in comfortable office environments but have to spend a lot of time sitting in front of a computer screen. (1), (2)
- To develop, design, evaluate and modify technical infrastructure in order to expedite the process of evaluation and conduct of clinical trials and quantitative evaluation of the resultant data.
- To maintain data integrity and data systems
- To ensure the timeliness, accuracy, relevancy and consistent use of information in the projects requiring data collection
- To provide assistance and oversight in improving data quality and information as required including auditing of data collection process.
- To manage all data management activity phases from start of study start and close of database.
- To perform statistical analysis and develop tracking systems for determining the efficiency of clinical trials.
- To interact with clinical team for determining design protocol, selection of data element, and appropriate statistical methods.
- To evaluate statistical analyses and databases and interact with computer groups for determination of hardware/software compatibility.
- To generate data queries on the basis of validation checks or omissions and errors identified during data entry.
- To improve inefficiencies and inconsistencies in processes, and recommend solutions.
- To design forms for receiving, processing and tracking data.
- To monitor and define metrics modifying plans accordingly.
- To discuss with end users for implementing or defining the clinical system requirements such as testing protocols, data release formats, and delivery schedules.
- To work as independent clinical data coordinator on multiple projects.
- To actively review and provide feedback on study productivity.
- To manage and perform analyses on existing and future clinical databases. (1)
How to become a Clinical Data Manager?
In the United States:
The Society for Clinical Data Management is offering a clinical data manager certification. The criterion for certification is a combination of education plus work experience. Clinical data managers might have a:
- Certificate in data management
- Degree (associate/bachelor's/master's) in information technology or related fields.
Educational requirements would vary with employer, although most of them prefer graduate-level education in life sciences or computer science. In general, clinical data managers would have to study:
- Research methods
In addition, clinical data managers must possess strong verbal and written communication, project management, computer, and database skills. Based upon the work settings, clinical data managers might find opportunities for leading a team.
Earn a Bachelor's Degree:
Generally, employers prefer prospective candidates with a bachelor degree in health management, computer science, or another major related to medicine. This job requires expertise in both healthcare issues and computer science. One way to pursue a bachelor's degree which includes subjects of both information technology and healthcare is to pursue a degree program in health information management, which would provide courses in the following subject areas:
- Record management
- Health information systems
- Computer technology
Students who wish to gain experience can consider taking part in an internship program. Such opportunities are available for both bachelors as well as master's degree candidates. Typically, tasks given to interns include data collection and analysis in addition to oral or written interpretation of data results to healthcare staff and customers.
Gain Work Experience:
Upon graduation, potential clinical data analysts may obtain employment in various health-related agencies, including hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies and clinical research facilities. Successful clinical data analysts do the compilation, analysis, and evaluation of data and apply the same to clinical issues accurately. They utilize information technology to create statistical models and have project management skills. Data analysts would also communicate their findings to other members of their clinical team. Organizations like the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) offer related certifications. The Certified Health Data Analyst (CHDA) credential from AHIMA requires a combination of education and experience, as well as passing a qualifying exam.
Pursue a Master's Degree
Some employers would prefer job candidates who have a master's degree in either a healthcare discipline or computer science. Individuals who have completed a master's program may qualify for certain positions with less clinical experience than others who have not received the advanced degree.
The Certified Clinical Data Manager (CCDM) program recognizes trained, credible, qualified professionals in data management. It provides instant feedback to organizations who intend to recruit the best and the brightest in their field. The CCDM designation signifies the commitment to your profession. The CCDM program stipulates eligibility criteria and standards of knowledge that are measured by a rigorous examination for qualified applicants.
Career and Economic Outlook:
Generally, clinical data managers can expect a positive economic outlook. The Society for Clinical Data Management reports that several of their members are working for CROs or in pharmaceutical/biotech industries. O*NET OnLine reported that the estimated growth of job opportunities for clinical data analysts has been projected to be closer to average (10% to 19%) from the 2010 to 2020. (3), (2)
As per Payscale.com, In the United States, the median annual salary for a clinical data manager is $66,590. As in several other jobs, previous working experience has a medium effect on the salary for this job too.
In India, the average salary for a Clinical Data Manager is Rs 373,805 per year. (4), (5)