The January 2014 federal mandate deadline for electronic medical recordkeeping is resulting in many healthcare companies investing in IT professionals now in order to help them meet this looming goal. In addition, many medical facilities are also hiring professionals to manage and maintain the data once new systems are up and running. As a result, clinical data manager jobs are on the rise across the nation. IT professionals with data management experience have a leg up on the competition as these employment opportunities expand.
Overall, clinical data managers are responsible for collecting data from a variety of medical research projects, such as clinical and pharmaceutical trials. They work collaboratively to make sure data is collected, managed and reported clearly, accurately and securely.
While some clinical data managers work for large pharmaceutical companies, others work for hospitals, governmental organizations, or private companies and research universities. Preparing reports, statistical comparisons, data charts and other presentation materials is an important part of the collaborative process between the clinical data manager and the research team.
Because the work is collaborative in nature, regular group meetings and some travel may be required.
A four-year baccalaureate degree is generally required for most IT work in medical settings. For clinical data managers who want to move into leadership roles, a master's degree or graduate certificate in health informatics may also be required. Depending on the company, travel may be regular or infrequent; speaking a foreign language may be a bonus qualification in multi-lingual research settings.
A precise level of data management skills are required to maintain longevity in this career path. In addition, versatile communication skills and a willingness to work with others are vital soft skills needed to be a successful member of a collaborative research team. Ongoing education and attendance at conferences is likely expected of top professionals in this field.
Every field has its pros and cons. What may be a drawback for one person may be just the thing that excites someone else about the job. The fast-paced competitive nature of research means that clinical data managers need to maintain a high level of energy to keep up with the pace of lead researchers. At the same time the push toward publication deadlines and grant cycle guidelines also means the need to work periodic long hours. Being on the cutting edge of new therapies excites many who enter the field.
While the work environment is exciting and important, the work schedule can be arduous, especially when new software applications are constantly being developed. Top clinical data managers remain engaged in lifelong learning to stay ahead of the competition. Online education can offer flexibility for professionals seeking additional training and education to keep up with the growing opportunities in this interesting and important career path.