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Clinical research has many benefits. There are the obvious ones, like a stipend for time and travel and the potential benefits of an investigational medication, but also more esoteric benefits, like increased quality of care, attention from medical staff, and knowledge about the conditions people face. We recently had a chance to talk with one of our repeat patients, Brendle, who will walk us through her clinical research experience and why she keeps signing up for more studies.
“I’ve learned so much,” she stated. One of the big benefits of clinical research is the knowledge gained through experience. Brendle said “Dr. Koren explains things so well.” Not only do patients get access to podcasts from Dr. Michael Koren and articles from our knowledgeable staff, but they also get a lot of direct face-to-face time with medical professionals and support staff. Transparency is key in clinical research, so we spend a lot of time talking through the full medical history of every patient. We also make sure everyone understands the science, risks, benefits, and process of a trial before enrolling. We typically schedule an hour or two for patients to talk through medical history, medications, and the specifics of a clinical trial before enrolling. Compare this to a typical doctor’s visit with a wait time of 15-30 minutes and only 10-20 minutes of time with a doctor and it’s easy to see why people like Brendle enjoy the clinical trial experience so much. Imagine how many complications could be avoided if primary care practices were able to spend an hour with each patient before prescribing a new medication!
Of course, medications and procedures are the major benefit most people think of when it comes to clinical research. Participants rank risks and benefits as the most important information before participating. The importance of understanding the potential risks of investigational medications or procedures should not be taken lightly. We ensure that patients are given the information needed to make well-informed decisions. Obviously, potential benefits are different in every study. Registry studies only collect information, and the benefit is in drug development down the road (and compensation). Phase 3 studies, in contrast, can have long-lasting effects on biological markers of health.
Brendle notes, “when I first came here, my Ejection Fraction (EF) was only 10%. Now it’s up!” This information is exactly what we want to know for statistical analysis, but the real-world consequences can be even better. Brendle continues, “I could only go from the bed to the couch and back, but now I can do much more.” Amazingly, it’s possible that benefits like this may be realized even when a patient is given a placebo. Not only is the placebo effect real, but the increased attention from doctors and medical staff makes sure we catch any health changes as soon as they happen.
Brendle finished up her chat with us saying “This is the best experience. I am thankful to get into studies.” We are very thankful for patients like Brendle – and you, dear reader – who help push science forward by volunteering for clinical trials!
Staff Writer / Editor Benton Lowey-Ball, BS, BFA
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