Community hospitals don't take advantage of clinical research

Clinical research offers hospitals a chance to contribute to medical science, provide cutting edge therapies to the community, enhance their images and give them a competitive advantage in the field.

But community hospitals aren't capitalizing on clinical research to generate revenue, recruit and retain physicians, or enhance their impact on the community, a new GuideStar Clinical Trials Management survey found.

The 2013 Community Hospital Survey of 183 healthcare professionals showed that despite a growing number of clinical trials throughout the past 20 years, community hospitals often lack the resources, structure or commitment to succeed to fully take advantage of the positive impact clinical research can provide.

"Our results show that community hospitals have largely remained on the sidelines when it comes to clinical trials," said Kristin P. Hutchins, president and CEO of GuideStar. "We wanted to learn why these hospitals have been slow or unable to participate in this growth opportunity."

Community hospitals face challenges in clinical research, including lack of resources, internal clinical research program awareness and financial support, as well as insufficient staffing, the study states. To compensate, some community hospitals are forging relationships with larger academic medical centers in order to gain access to patients for clinical trials and experimental treatments, FierceHealthcare previously reported. 

The survey provides additional tips for hospitals to successfully start or enhance a clinical research program:

  • Work within the size and structure of the organization to sufficiently satisfy enrollment needs and manage patient volume;
  • Make clinical research a primary focus--encourage a culture shift toward research support and awareness;
  • Find a physician champion--designate a medical leader who can reach out to medical liaisons and study sponsors, as well as publish research results, offer patients access to innovative medicines and go above and beyond standard patient care; and
  • Be aggressive in contract and budget negotiations to ensure the hospital has the funds to tackle the right studies and associated costs, while maintaining a patient population necessary to ensure successful study enrollment.

To learn more:
- here's the survey

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