Often clinical research trials are conducted through large, academic medical centers. This is understandable as the cost of a research department infrastructure can be beyond the budget for a community hospital. Yet for those community hospitals willing to become involved in clinical research trials, the dividends to the institution, its staff, and the community are phenomenal. A few of these benefits are reviewed.
Indirectly, the physician may benefit financially from a larger patient population stimulated by those seeking out new or alternative therapies for their disease process. Additionally, it allows the physician to view the patient as a partner regarding their healthcare.
The institutional staff, not only the physicians, particularly the culture of community hospitals benefit from clinical research. As noted by P. Selby, (“The impact of the process of clinical research on health service outcomes”), involvement with clinical research “enables maximizing intellectual curiosity, positive questioning of practices and search for optimal services to patients.” As healthcare institutions seek quality status recognition, such as the Magnet Recognition Program, conducting research within that institution facilitates many of the forces of magnetism.
Finally, community hospitals conducting clinical research offer numerous benefits to their community members. The community hospital is the health-center hub for the community. Research trials conducted at community hospitals open the door of opportunity to suburban and rural residents as it places research trials within close proximity to their homes. Research trials educate consumers (or community members) on the process required to bring an investigational product to market as well as the interest and oversight of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding subject protection. By offering clinical research to community members, it allows for greater autonomy; empowering the patient with knowledge and choices in their health care decisions. These enlightened patients are then capable of partnering with their physician to collectively choose health care options, which in turn, promotes compliance with their plan of care.
Enrollment in a clinical research trial is an altruistic endeavor. The subject is guaranteed no direct benefit but is informed that through the information gathered from the study, others may benefit. Involvement as a subject in a clinical research trial allows us to willingly be a part of a giving process; much like organ or blood donation. What an amazing opportunity for both the giver and the receiver!
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