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Tools for CDM

Many software tools are available for data management, and these are called Clinical Data Management Systems (CDMS). In multicentric trials, a CDMS has become essential to handle the huge amount of data. Most of the CDMS used in pharmaceutical companies are commercial, but a few open source tools are available as well. Commonly used CDM tools are ORACLE CLINICAL, CLINTRIAL, MACRO, RAVE, and eClinical Suite. In terms of functionality, these software tools are more or less similar and there is no significant advantage of one system over the other. These software tools are expensive and need sophisticated Information Technology infrastructure to function. Additionally, some multinational pharmaceutical giants use custom-made CDMS tools to suit their operational needs and procedures. Clinical Data Management (CDM) is a critical phase in clinical research, which leads to generation of high-quality, reliable, and statistically sound data from clinical trials. This helps to produce a drastic reduction in time from drug development to marketing.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Standards in CDM

Akin to other areas in clinical research, CDM has guidelines and standards that must be followed. Since the pharmaceutical industry relies on the electronically captured data for the evaluation of medicines, there is a need to follow good practices in CDM and maintain standards in electronic data capture. These electronic records have to comply with a Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), 21 CFR Part 11. This regulation is applicable to records in electronic format that are created, modified, maintained, archived, retrieved, or transmitted. If data have to be submitted to regulatory authorities, it should be entered and processed in 21 CFR part 11-compliant systems. Most of the CDM systems available are like this and pharmaceutical companies as well as contract research organizations ensure this compliance. Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC), a multidisciplinary non-profit organization, has developed standards to support acquisition, exchange, submission, and archival of clinical research data and metadata.

Team members of CDM are actively involved in all stages of clinical trial right from inception to completion. They should have adequate process knowledge that helps maintain the quality standards of CDM processes. Various procedures in CDM including Case Report Form (CRF) designing, CRF annotation, database designing, data-entry, data validation, discrepancy management, medical coding, data extraction, and database locking are assessed for quality at regular intervals during a trial. In the present scenario, there is an increased demand to improve the CDM standards to meet the regulatory requirements and stay ahead of the competition by means of faster commercialization of product.

Metadata is the data of the data entered. This includes data about the individual who made the entry or a change in the clinical data, the date and time of entry/change and details of the changes that have been made. Among the standards,

Two important ones are the Study Data Tabulation Model Implementation Guide for Human Clinical Trials (SDTMIG) and the Clinical Data Acquisition Standards Harmonization (CDASH) standards, available free of cost from the CDISC website The SDTMIG standard[4] describes the details of model and standard terminologies for the data and serves as a guide to the organization. CDASH v 1.1[5] defines the basic standards for the collection of data in a clinical trial and enlists the basic data information needed from a clinical, regulatory, and scientific perspective.

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