The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME) in cooperation with clinical trial experts developed two certification programs:
- for clinical investigators and scientists,
- for monitors, coordinators and associates.
NBME is a non-for-profit organization with 100 plus years of experience in assessing qualifications of healthcare professionals including physical therapists, medical assistants and veterinarians.
The organization conducted a research among experts in clinical studies to determine their pains and came up with a solution for standardization in the area of training, assessment and certification of their professional skills.
Description of the Need
NBME’s research revealed that specialists involved in clinical trials need a training program free of the existing redundancy, as well as a method for measuring the effectiveness of that training.
The two certifications mentioned above vary per position according to its specifics. However, they are designed to assess foundational knowledge in clinical research, including ethics, study design, and data management along with other issues professionals should have skills of dealing with, regardless of the role they play in the given medical research process. The scenarios offered to participants are designed to be as realistic as possible. And in order to eliminate any biases in the exam, the assessment is not based on any particular training program.
What makes this assessment objective and fair beyond any doubt, is the fact that the NBME is a disinterested third party when it comes to clinical study. The organization clearly states that their mission is in protecting the public and not in promoting any companies or individuals.
How CROs Can Benefit From This Certification?
Demonstration of such certificate on a clinical research organization’s website could add to the company’s reputation. This certificate would signal to its current and future partners and pharma companies of its staff’s proficiency, knowledge and reliability, helping to understand whether the given CRO is qualified to handle a particular experimental clinical research.
How Pharma Companies Can Benefit From This Certification?
NBME is planning to launch a registry of certified professionals for sponsors, pharma companies and CROs. This registry can be referred to when selecting a job candidate or verifying if a job candidate holds this certificate.
Another way pharma companies can benefit from this certification is by demonstrating to their clients and consumers that their internal trials and research is being handled by qualified personnel.
How NBME is Different from Other Clinical Certifications Available?
Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), Society for Clinical Data Management, and Society of Clinical Research Associates (SOCRA) each has a certification program of their own. They differ fundamentally form the certification proposed by NBME, being designed for obtaining a definite title within the industry.
Oftentimes research specialists find it difficult to keep up with the training and the proof of training, and the process becomes a significant burden for them. NMBE certification program is designed to address these difficulties and eliminate some meaningless challenges in order for the certification process to become easier for professionals who want to continue in the field of clinical trials and research for pharma.
With this goal in mind, NMBE certification program is intended as a pathway for individuals who wish to get into experimental medical research, offering them a convenient assessment format to enhance the skills they need to become more successful.
Taking Exam to Gain Certification
To take the exam for certification, examinees must provide such evidence of their eligibility as education and experience in medical research.
The exam is a multiple choice one, lasting 4 hours and 15 minutes. After taking it, examinees can review their results – all weak and strong areas.
If the exam is organized by a clinical research organization for its employees, it can receive aggregated data regarding its staff performance. With this information at hand, the organization can identify the areas of knowledge in need of improvement and fine-tune training programs required for its staff.