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What is a Clinical Data Manager?

A clinical data manager combines data processing expertise with information technology (IT) skills. A job as a clinical data manager requires collecting and analyzing information as it becomes available and presenting it in an organized way. This process occurs with the help of several data management systems.

Depending on the type and length of a clinical trial, a clinical data manager may be responsible for using various software systems to organize, oversee, and coordinate data. These systems include Oracle Clinical, eClinical Suite, Rave, Macro, and Clintrial.

CDM professionals must be familiar with regulatory guidelines and pharmaceutical compliance standards. Because the goal of CDM professionals is to help the pharmaceutical industry and the government evaluate new medicine, understanding the federal regulations to adhere to is essential.

What Do People With Clinical Data Manager Jobs Do?

CDM professionals create a case report at the start of a clinical trial form. The form should outline the fields to use. Things a CDM professional will include on the clinical trial form are the type of data they will collect, the metrics, and directions for filling out the data.

The next step is to build a database to help track data information. A CDM professional will then run tests on the database before deploying it with actual clinical data. Data entry, validation tests, and managing discrepancies follow suit.

Several roles and responsibilities fall under CDM work. Depending on the size of a company and trial, a CDM professional may have several responsibilities, including supervising the CDM process, programming and designing a database, medical coding, developing discrepancy protocols, checking data entry quality, and tracking and entering data into a database.

As clinical data managers, professionals may also be responsible for leading a CDM team. CDM professionals must also ensure smooth system maintenance and fix any system issues that may arise.

At larger companies, a CDM professional gathers data and presents it to a statistics team to analyze. However, many smaller companies require that a clinical data manager analyze the collected data themselves. Sharing key data trends with shareholders is sometimes expected.

Where Do Clinical Data Managers Work?

Clinical data managers have a wide range of work opportunities. They can also choose between work in the private or public sectors. CDM professionals can find employment at pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, government agencies, research companies, and private companies

Generally, at least some travel is required for this profession. That’s because the job entails collaborating with several teams and research groups, as well as potentially key stakeholders. A CDM professional should also expect to attend several group meetings.

What Degree Do You Need To Become a Clinical Data Manager?

Because Clinical Data Managers must be proficient in IT, most jobs require a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree. However, most people with clinical data manager jobs hold a master’s degree in computer science, engineering, or life sciences. Additionally, a degree in health informatics is helpful.

Though it isn’t a prerequisite, knowing more than one language may be beneficial for professionals seeking work in CDM. Because travel is probable in many cases, knowing a second language may even result in higher pay.

How Much Money Does a Clinical Data Manager Earn?

The average pay for an entry-level clinical data manager is $73,417 according to Zip Recruiter. On the other hand, the highest earners in CDM receive a salary of $136,500 at entry-level. Factors that impact pay rate include location, place of work, education, and experience.

Clinical Data Manager Job Requirements

Aside from IT expertise and data analysis skills, a CDM professional must have strong leadership qualities. Communication skills are vital as well. Other relevant skills include being detail-oriented, having critical thinking skills, time management skills, and a passion for healthcare and IT.

CDM jobs are versatile and fast-paced. Individuals must think quickly to solve unexpected errors. They must also enjoy working in a highly collaborative atmosphere and working with others to solve problems.

Individuals who enjoy working with computer science and data analytics may be ideal candidates for CDM jobs. This is especially true for those seeking to make a difference in modern medicine.

Clinical Data Management Career Path

If you’re pursuing CDM employment, having a strong IT background is essential. To stand out from other applicants, you may consider earning a graduate degree in computer sciences or informatics.

Those seeking additional certifications should consider the Certified Clinical Data Manager Program from the Society of Clinical Data Managers. Such programs provide applicants with a wider range of career options.

Aside from IT expertise, clinical data managers should also have some experience working in a healthcare setting. A great way to achieve both is to volunteer at healthcare organizations for IT projects.

Education programs that combine IT subjects, as well as medical ones, are another excellent option for those interested in CDM careers. Several universities offer such programs.

Most jobs in this field require experience and not education alone. Thus, if you know that a CDM career would be perfect for you, you should aim to acquire between 3 to 5 years of experience collecting data beforehand. This experience can stem from previous related jobs such as a clinical data analyst or data programming.

To succeed in the clinical data management field, it’s best to combine education with clinical experience. This is achievable through a variety of volunteer opportunities and educational partnerships.

As a clinical data manager, your job will directly impact health outcomes for many people. It’s one of the most fulfilling lines of work within healthcare and IT. Since 2019, demand for this career path has grown by 93%, making it one of the most promising career paths.

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