Benefits of Healthcare in Research Trials
I am Dr. Jeff Kingsley and this is another edition of Riding in Cars With Researchers! Today we are going to talk about what it’s like to be a patient in a research trial. That means I’m talking to you and me! Because we are all patients, whether we are patients today, or will be tomorrow. There are tens of thousands of research trials that we can consider as patients. I’m going to give you 4 reasons that research visits are different from a normal healthcare visit.
- More Healthcare
- Free Healthcare
- More Education
- More Respect
In research, you receive vastly more healthcare than you do in a normal office visit. We do more assessments. In a normal office visit, your doctor may assess your eczema – dry, scaly skin. And may not do a scientifically-proven assessment, but rather, use their best judgment, and move along. In research trials, we commonly use five different assessment tools to ensure we know precisely the status of your atopic dermatitis or eczema. In COPD, in emphysema, in normal office visits, at best, you may get one pulmonary function test (PFT) a year, and maybe, zero! In research, we do one every quarter. In research you receive more labs and EKGs, so we know precisely your blood counts, the status of your liver, and kidney function, and your heart. Truly, vastly, more healthcare delivery in research than you would ever receive outside of research.
In research, all of that that I mentioned, is completely free. I don’t even ask patients if they have insurance – it’s that irrelevant. There are no co-pays. The research medications are almost always free, with rare exceptions. The labs, the EKGs, physical exams, even entire surgeries, are performed for free, without even a co-pay, for patients in research trials. All research-specific healthcare is paid for by the research itself. It’s a wonderful, wonderful economic model.
In normal healthcare, you spend time waiting around in the reception area, then the exam room, and spend about 8 minutes with your physician, at best. In research, you spend maybe 5 minutes in the reception area and are escorted back to a room, and we immediately start. And you are spending time being educated on everything that we are doing. That initial informed consent document that you signed when we began taught you precisely what your disease state is. All those introductory labs and EKGs helped teach you the current status of that disease – precisely how healthy or unhealthy you are – how controlled or uncontrolled you are. Not with a “finger to the wind”, but with good science – “This is precisely what is going on.” We educate you on the algorithms, the guidelines of treatment for that disease state. YOU begin to know what the doctors know. This is why we believe you should be on this medicine vs that medicine. “If this” type scenarios. And you begin to learn why we believe that this class of medicine we are looking at is the new cutting-edge of therapy for your disease state. You spend more time with your physician in that education process and when you have questions, you’ll get answers, in far more detail than in normal healthcare. It’s a phenomenal way of nurturing that physician-patient relationship.
In normal healthcare, you don’t know what is going to happen at any given office visit. Nor do you know when your next office visit will be. In research, from Day 1, you know precisely how many office visits have, precisely when they will be, and exactly what will happen at every office visit. You will know how much blood work will be done at your next office visit well in advance – if there will be an EKG, or a physical exam. It’s really quite respectful. I am a large proponent of what is called patient autonomy. I believe patients should be driving their own healthcare. I believe patients should have control over how aggressive, or non-aggressive, they are going to be with their healthcare. And in research, there is a tremendous amount of patient autonomy. That’s the 4th reason why I love research, and the 4th reason research is different than normal healthcare.
There you go! No. 1 More Healthcare! No. 2 Free Healthcare! No. 3 More Education! and No. 4 More Autonomy – More Respect!
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