Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Does your doctor talk with you about this?

First place winner, “In This Together” by Zarrin Tashnim.

Third place winner, “Medical Equality” by Arielle Clark

Clinical trials are a type of medical research that is undertaken to find new ways to prevent, detect and treat diseases. Individuals or groups of human subjects are assigned according to a research protocol to one or more interventions in order to evaluate the effects on health outcomes.

Although most familiar are clinical trials of new medications, they may also test new uses for existing treatments, new medical devices, new ways to do surgery, behavioral treatments, and new ways to improve the quality of life for people with diseases or chronic conditions. The goal is to ensure that the medications and treatments are safe and effective.

The people involved as subjects of clinical trials are volunteers. Healthy volunteers want to help other people and advance medical science. Volunteers who have an illness or disability also take part to help others, but they may also possibly receive the newest treatment for their condition. Most clinical trial participants get specialized or free medical care.

Does your healthcare provider discuss clinical trials with you during your visits?

87% of Americans in a recent survey say that doctors should discuss clinical trials with patients who have been diagnosed with a disease. 61% said clinical trial participation should be discussed with patients whether healthy or ill.

Yet only 36% of those surveyed said their healthcare provider had discussed clinical research with them. 77% of survey respondents would prefer getting information about clinical trial opportunities from their physician rather than from other sources. 50% said the doctors and other medical providers have the greatest responsibility for educating the public about clinical trials.

Although over three-quarters of survey participants have heard of clinical trials, only a quarter have either participated in one or had a family member participate in one. Half of those who have not yet participated in a clinical trial would be willing to do so.

85% of those surveyed said it is important that the population of people involved in a clinical trial represent the diversity of the US population. In the past many trials rejected women or failed to attract BIPOC participants. This resulted in gaps in medical knowledge about variations in how different humans respond to disease and treatments. This led to inequities in health care decision making, treatments, and development of appropriate interventions. Diversity and inclusion in clinical trials are now recognized as an important aspect of trial design.

Perhaps we as patients can take the lead in involving more people in clinical trials. First, you will want to do some research. To find a list of clinical trials (not all in the US), check here:

You can also find background information about clinical trial design at the Research Pavilion on Virtual Ability’s Healthinfo Island in Second Life: 

In addition, the left side of the Research Pavilion features posters explaining how to access research opportunities that may interest you. Click the poster for a notecard with additional information about the study and how to apply.

Of course, you will want to understand the potential benefits and risks of participating in a clinical trial. You can print out the information about a clinical trial you are interested in, and discuss it with your healthcare provider.

Perhaps expressing your interest in clinical trials will open up a useful conversation with your healthcare provider.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Got a Comment?