As a hospitalist, you visit with and provide treatment plans for many different types of people with various conditions and diseases. Some of the patients you may encounter could benefit from a clinical or health care experimental trial, but you may not be thinking about it at the time of your rounding. Did you know that your day-to-day interactions with patients could be a missing link in advancing clinical research?
Participation in clinical trials is imperative to successful innovation and improvement of health care, so how can you, as a hospitalist, do a better job of encouraging interest among your patients? The answer is two-fold. First, a hospitalist must look at themself as a patient advocate – someone who keeps abreast of the latest in groundbreaking scientific advancements in their area of practice, and then passes that crucial information on to their patients to make informed decisions. Second, a hospitalist should encourage their team and other clinicians to implement new testable interventions to learn more about how and why certain trails work, as well as engage in more experimentation across the board.
As someone who patients learn to trust and rely on during their hospitalization, a hospitalist can encourage participation in sound clinical research. By providing resources that review benefits and risks, as well as details for involvement, patients can be introduced to new avenues in which they may have never considered prior.
According to the National Institutes of Health, several studies indicate that proper awareness changes attitudes toward clinical trials, enrollment, and the benefits of participation.
- 85% of patients surveyed were either unaware or unsure that participation in a clinical trial was an option at the time of their diagnosis.
- 75% of the surveyed above said they would have been willing to enroll had they known it was possible.
It is important to take the approach that not many patients will be informed of all the clinical trial options available to them, and that health care providers can greatly increase awareness and participation in clinical trials because of their influence and role in a patient’s journey. It’s also imperative to remember that a patient’s choice to participate (or not) is very personal and unique to their situation.
To remain innovative, it is essential to continue experimentation and testing. Patients have the unique opportunity to have a voice in a vast ecosystem of new therapy developments. The scientific and technical advancements from clinical trials hold such strong potential for novel treatments to some of humanity’s most life-threatening diseases and conditions. By encouraging patients to at least check into the requirements that a clinical trial may involve, a hospitalist can help serve as a reminder to continue improving access to promising care.
Making decisions such as enrolling in a clinical trial is confusing and daunting for most patients. As someone they learn to trust in their stay as an inpatient, a hospitalist can bring clarity and assurance. A hospitalist’s role is so much more than simply providing care and treatment for hospitalized patients. Not only are they responsible for ensuring that patients understand their condition, treatment plan, what to watch for, and who to call in a crisis, they play a crucial role in transitional care, follow-up, and readmission. A hospitalist can also provide hope and encouragement in ways they could never imagine – like encouraging participation in lifesaving treatment through a clinical trial.
Sometimes, a clinical trial is not going to be an option. And that’s OK. A hospitalist can continue finding ways to encourage their patients’ healing in several other ways. The important piece of advice here is that as a hospitalist, you keep yourself educated and informed of advancements that may be of benefit for your patients.
Contact Advanced Care Hospitalists to Learn More
ACH is a Lakeland-based hospitalist group providing comprehensive patient care in community hospitals across Central Florida. If you are interested in learning more about our programs, services, providers or becoming a partner facility, please call us at 863-816-5884 or fill out a contact form online.