Present Status and Perspectives on Future Roles of Japanese Clinical Research Coordinators

Hiroaki Yanagawa, Hiroshi Nokihara, Hideto Yokoi, Hitoshi Houchi, Masahiro Nagai, Risako Yamashita, Narufumi Suganuma, Masamitsu Hyodo


Background: The new Clinical Trials Act that recently came into effect in Japan emphasizes the reliability of investigator-initiated clinical trials. Although Japanese clinical research coordinators have been mainly engaged in operational roles in industry-initiated clinical trials for drug approval (registration trials), broadening their contribution to cover more types of clinical research may lead to quality improvement of clinical research. To ultimately establish a clinical research infrastructure that meets the needs of the new era of Clinical Trials Act, here we gathered basic information on how clinical research coordinators might make such contributions.

Methods: We conducted a survey using self-reporting questionnaires in clinical research-related personnel to examine present status and the perspectives toward broader contribution of clinical research coordinators. The study participants were attendee of group discussion of a clinical research-related meeting in Shikoku area of Japan held in August 2017.

Results: Among 88 participants, 69 responded (response rate: 78.4%) and 68 respondents (98.6%) were engaged in support and management of clinical research. The main area of involvement was industry-initiated registration trials (48, 69.7%), and main roles of involvement were cooperators who plays roles under the guidance of investigators (41, 59.5%). When divided by occupation into clinical research coordinators (n = 41) and other clinical research-related personnel (n = 28), approximately half of the respondents in each group replied positively to wanting broader involvement of clinical research coordinators as a clinical research professional.

Conclusion: The present study revealed that about half of the clinical research coordinators and other clinical research-related personnel view a broadening of involvement of clinical research coordinators in research activities positively. Accordingly, a structured practical program aimed at encouraging such involvement may help to expand and strengthen their contribution into the future. Whether greater involvement of clinical research coordinators in clinical research will help to ensure the reliability of investigator-initiated clinical research warrants further study.

J Clin Med Res. 2018;10(12):877-882


Clinical research coordinators; Clinical research; Role; Quality assurance; Perspective; Clinical Trials Act; Japan

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