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There are four primary items to consider when trying to select the best clinical data management course: accreditation, course materials, instructor qualifications, and course delivery method. Data management courses are focused on the techniques used to correctly collect, analyze, and interpret information. Clinical data management techniques are primarily used in scientific or medical research settings.
People who take clinical data management courses are usually clinical nurses, research assistants or associates, or health information professionals. The skills learned in a clinical data management course include data integrity, data input control techniques, basic and complex analysis concepts and database management solutions. The application of these techniques is essential to any clinical trial, as the data must be collected in a consistent manner to be used to support any observations or conclusions of the clinical trial or program.
The accreditation status of the course provider is very important, as the techniques must follow a specific set of guidelines and standards to be acceptable. Less than stringent standards or lax data management techniques can invalidate the results from a clinical trial. The primary purpose of these trials or programs is to test a theory using real patients. The results or conclusions from these programs are then used to support research papers that are published in scientific journals.
Look at the course materials provided with the clinical data management course. There should be two areas of focus: data management and the unique challenges of scientific data management. In the data management component, statistics, data analysis, and common software products should be the primary focus. In a scientific or clinical setting, there are additional challenges that must be addressed. These include the concepts of double blind studies, privacy concerns, and ethical issues.
Instructional qualifications must include a minimum graduate degree in statistics or data analysis. Additional experience in scientific or clinical research is very important in this field, as it will provide valuable insight into the environment and pressures of the scientific and medical research industry. Take the time to verify the educational credentials of the instructor, to ensure that he or she has the skills required to teach this material.
A clinical data management course can be completed via the Internet or through a traditional classroom course. Online courses are a great option for students who are working full time and find it difficult to physically attend classes on a regular basis. It is important to note that not everyone enjoys online courses. Some people learn best in a group setting and find that a traditional classroom setting is ideal for this type of student.
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