The Cornerstone of Medical Innovation and Life-changing Care
By Linda G.P. Schneider, MD
Clinical research has long been recognized as a pivotal force driving advancements in healthcare innovation. Without the tireless work of clinical trial investigators worldwide, many of the clinical breakthroughs we witness today would not have been possible. As physicians, we are committed to propelling medicine forward, which is precisely why our collaboration with clinical research is so critical.
Often, the enrollment of participants in clinical trials is facilitated by referring physicians, who play a vital role in expanding access to sought-after and cutting-edge healthcare interventions. By partnering with primary care providers, clinical trial investigators can leverage the trust that these providers have already established with their patients, thereby encouraging more candid and accurate responses from patients’ treatment experiences. It is crucial that patients feel confident and empowered to openly communicate their experiences when gathering data about the investigative treatment.
While we encourage participants to consult with their doctors about innovative studies they may qualify for; it is often the responsibility of the primary care providers to bridge this gap. This may mean providing information about relevant trials, clarifying the process of informed consent to ensure all trial participants are well-informed before agreeing to participate, or alleviating common fears associated with clinical trials. Trials often have specific criteria to determine eligibility, which healthcare providers may be more familiar with than patients. In this way, referring physicians assist patients in navigating the complex medical terminology involved in enrolling in clinical trials.
It’s also essential to remember the role diversity must play in clinical trial recruitment. Race, ethnicity, age, sex, and more impact our experience of disease and medicine. In order to have a thorough understanding of a medication, we must examine how it affects a wide variety of individuals. In doing so, we’ll be able to better care for our communities.
Without clinical trials, medical professionals lack the means to substantiate the efficacy of medical interventions. To deliver optimal medical care, we need medicines that are effective, safe, and well-tolerated by patients. With your help, we can make these goals a reality. As you see patients, I urge you to become an investigator yourself. Familiarize yourself with the ongoing clinical trials in your area and determine if your pat.
Linda G.P. Schneider, MD, is Board certified in Family Medicine and is a Diplomate of the American Board of Clinical Lipidology. She has been in practice on the Peninsula since 1983 and joined TPMG Hampton Family Medicine in 2009. After her retirement in 2020, Dr. Schneider has dedicated her expertise to the TPMG Clinical Research Division.