Change is in the Air: Part IV

This is the fourth installment in a series on changes coming to the clinical research enterprise from John Neal, CPA, BS, CRSP, founder and CEO of PCRS Network, LLC, and member of the ACRP Board of Trustees.

Prediction 4: Fewer Principal Investigators will be needed in the future.

Following my first three posts predicting that:

  • major changes are coming that will be disruptive, displacing many people currently working in the industry (read more);
  • there will be a decrease in the number of single drug studies in the future (read more);
  • the process by which Sites are selected to conduct studies will be radically transformed, and fewer sites will be needed in the future (read more)

it may seem that it would follow logically that fewer PIs will be needed. I do not believe it is those factors that will have the greatest impact on how many PIs will be needed. Instead, it is another factor (actually interconnected factors) that will drive the reduction in the number of PIs.

As more PIs have become available, the number of studies available per PI has decreased significantly over the last decade.

First, although there has been a push for many years to create a larger pool of investigators, that need has been based almost entirely on the turnover caused by PIs choosing not to continue to conduct research. One of the primary reasons given by PIs who have made that decision is the financial burden placed on the site/PI. Part of that burden has come from declining budgets and untimely payment terms, but as more PIs have become available, the number of studies available per PI has decreased significantly over the last decade.

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