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SCDM 2022 Key Takeaways: Fundamental Shifts in the Data Ecosystem

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Chad Papineau, Senior Director of Business Development at Advanced Clinical
Chad Papineau, Senior Director of Business Development at Advanced Clinical

Although the Society for Clinical Data Management’s (SCDM) annual conference took place several weeks ago in San Antonio, Texas, there are many key takeaways that are worth noting as we head into the final quarter of the year and consider planning and initiatives for 2023.


For me, SCDM has always been the place where clinical data management professionals come together to share best practices and stay abreast of the constantly evolving clinical data management world. Every year it seems like the industry evolves as we embrace more complex technologies, larger data sets and changing regulations.

After almost three years of virtual conferences during COVID, SCDM members were back together once again for the world’s leading clinical data management conference. From the moment attendees arrived, it was clear this was going to be a special event. Nearly 800 people attended, which was hundreds more than planners anticipated. There was a buzz in the air that lasted throughout the conference.

The power of digital innovation, processes and technology
The event featured more than 200 speakers and over 80 sessions where industry leaders discussed the key themes that are currently shaping the data management landscape. Speakers came from across the globe representing large pharma, innovative data companies, emerging biotechs, and full-service CROs who are making great strides in their data management strategies. Some of the big topics included:

  • Data integrity challenges in decentralized clinical trials
  • The ongoing effort to overcome talent shortages, ensuring companies hire quality staff and even consider looking to internal staff members who may want a career change and have transferrable skills that could help with a transition into clinical data management
  • The steady merging of human and AI in the data management process, where discussions touched on the need for AI regulatory guidelines and the journey to ethical and responsible AI
  • The current state of the RBQM transformation journey, which has been one of the few ongoing, industry-wide shifts that were discussed in conference sessions

Many of the sessions touched on the fundamental shift happening in the industry around data responsibility and its role in clinical development. We’ve reached a point where the focus is less about how to efficiently capture data and more about managing information as it flows through the entire clinical data ecosystem. In this era, clinical data management is evolving into clinical data science, with clinical data managers functioning more as data scientists and strategic advisors who provide support across the clinical development continuum in their organizations. This is a transformation that will continue to change the way the data management profession is resourced, trained, utilized, and valued.

This evolution will also help clinical data management to evolve into a more patient-driven clinical trial environment, especially with the increase of hybrid and decentralized clinical trials (DCTs) that benefitted many patients in recent years. DCTs are just one of the many driving forces behind this evolution toward clinical data science. Some of the other important factors include:

  • More complex clinical trials with diverse patient populations and dynamic study characteristics
  • The adoption of risk-based clinical data management following the latest ICH guidelines
  • The automation of clinical data management using the latest technology tools with machine learning capabilities and more

Being able to participate in discussions about digital innovations and new processes and technologies was remarkable because there are so many big shifts occurring in the clinical data management space. While these changes haven’t gone into full effect yet, it’s helpful to see what current trends are influencing these industry changes and how we can prepare for what’s to come in the clinical trials industry. It left me excited about the future and further collaborations in the space.

The power of reconnecting and hope for future SCDM collaborations
I started my career in the data management space and have built so many relationships over the years. No matter where my career takes me, SCDM has always been the place where I reconnect with peers, clients and mentors. After the pandemic lockdowns, this event was an opportunity to reconnect with people who I hadn't seen or talked to in years – and to meet others face-to-face for the first time.

It felt like every presentation and conversation tied back to the importance of staying engaged and the networking events were packed with people eager to reconnect. I left the event feeling inspired about the future of clinical data management and further collaboration with my peers. Looking forward to next year!


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