Greetings, subscribers and readers of Florida MD!
I’d like to delve a bit into an often overlooked service of a high-quality practice: clinical trials. There is still a widely held misconception that independent physicians have limited time for research or that clinical trials can only be performed in teaching hospitals, community hospitals and research centers. This is not the case at all; on the contrary, if you are passionate and want to provide cutting-edge treatments to your patient population in hopes of giving them a better quality of life and added years, then being an investigator in a clinical trial may be for you.
The increases in morbidity and the rapid advancement in the production of new drugs, therapies and devices have increased the opportunities for private practice physicians to become investigators to properly evaluate them for safety purposes (Lader, et al.). Pharmaceutical research and development (R&D) spending in 2018 is projected to be 161 billion in the U.S., climbing to 181 billion by 2022 (see table).
This increase created a need for physician investigators and their patient populations, providing a unique opportunity for research-naïve physicians. These physicians can now provide high-quality care while adding to the bottom line and without depending on insurance reimbursement.
Participation in clinical research adds prestige to your practice by aiding patients who cannot be helped by current treatments. It also provides superior, often expensive, cutting-edge health care to all, regardless of whether they are insured, under-insured or lack any coverage.
In addition, it provides you with an opportunity to meet other investigators, helping you become an expert in a specific area of medicine. This is where marketing your expertise comes into play. Because clinical trials often lead to publications, you can become a co-author of articles in scientific journals. As a bonus, your medical and community media outlets might hear about the study, creating recognition for you and your practice.
You don’t have to be concerned by a lack of clinical research experience. As a newcomer to research, pick companies that are passionate about patient care that will walk you through the application process and educate you on the regulations and requirements involved. Training, both online and in-office, is available to help you understand the procedures involved before and during the application process. Once they’ve submitted the application, new physicians should expect to hear within 90 to 120 days whether it’s been declined or they’ve been awarded their first study. You must take the initiative to apply to as many studies as you’re qualified for. If you’re awarded multiple studies, you can choose which to accept or decline.
As you await your awards, you may be rightly concerned by the work this may add to your medical practice. Using a coordinator efficiently can help you manage the extra time you’ll spend incorporating clinical studies into your daily medical practice.
If legal or malpractice issues are a concern, be assured that if you are following the agreed upon standards of care, companies shoulder the risk. You must inform your insurance company that you are adding clinical research to your practice.
In addition to increased revenues for participation in a trial, other factors make clinical research a useful tool for building a high-quality medical practice. These include the disease studied, patient population , added experience for a top-of-the-line CV and the possibility of co-authorship of articles.
Most important, the rewards for adding clinical trials to your practice include instilling hope in your patients that are suffering from chronic diseases or battling terminal diagnoses, all while adding to the advancement of medicine.
By Khalilah Filmore
Please tell me if you are interested in providing or already provide clinical trials to your patients! I invite you to submit your thoughts or questions by email with the subject line #PracticeTactics to Khalilah@WeHelpDrs.com or visit WeHelpDrs.com.