Physicians and Patients Need to Discuss the Benefits of Clinical Trials

June 10, 2008

A survey conducted by the Society for Women’s Health Research found that of the 2,028 people surveyed, 94% of them said their doctor has never discussed medical research.

Physicians are a key element in helping with the patient recruitment process for clinical trials. Yet, a survey conducted by the Society for Women’s Health Research found that of the 2,028 people (age 18 years+) surveyed, 94% of them said that “their doctor has never talked to them about participating in any type of medical research.”

Currently, 33,161 of 57,138 clinical trial listings found on ClinicalTrials.gov are based in the US, with 13,986 actively recruiting patients. It is difficult to comprehend how researchers are able to recruit enough participants to adequately populate so many studies when the vast majority of Americans are unaware they exist. To top it off, researchers are also having difficulty in recruiting women, which could create a gap in our knowledge and adversely affect the quality of care provided to women, especially older women. According to Sherry Marts, PhD, vice president of scientific affairs for the Society for Women’s Health Research, “Women 65 and older are among the fasting growing segments of our population and we have very little health research data on them. This lack of information is an area of great need and growing concern.”

Survey results:

  • Less than 10% of those surveyed participated in a medical research study
  • More than 70% who participated would definitely or probably participate again if asked

Three leading reasons why those surveyed would not participate in a research study:

  • They don’t have the time
  • They think it is too dangerous
  • They are not interested

Do you tell your patients about the medical research study opportunities that are available to them? If so, how many of your patients have participated in a study? Based on the survey results produced by the Society for Women’s Health Research, will you implement research study discussions with your patients?

Additional Resources:

Healthcare Communications Group

How to improve patient participation in clinical trials


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