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Bring both direct and intrinsic value to your practice with clinical trials

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Pharmaceutical and medical device companies represent a more than $30 billion industry, according to national statistics. To test the safety and efficacy of their new products, these companies rely on clinical trials — a required step in securing FDA approval for market retail. In fact, they make significant investments to get their drugs and devices to market as quickly as possible.

Because of the prestige and publication rights of the trials, clinical trials have historically been centered in academic medical settings. Yet because of the motivation to get products to market within a reasonable time frame, the industry has turned to working with private physician groups to expedite the process.

Many physicians have research experience through their residencies, internships and fellowships. If you count yourself among them, offering clinical trials to your patients can bring both direct and intrinsic value to your practice.

3 keys to success

The keys to conducting and succeeding with clinical trials in a private practice are as follows:

  1. Physician/provider commitment and involvement,
  2. An experienced research coordinator and staff, and
  3. A large, diverse patient base.

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies are looking for physicians (principal investigators) with experience and proven success rates. What they aren’t looking for is any trend of patient recruitment failures. Thus, having a support staff with experience and contacts within the local pharmaceutical and medical device market will help in bringing studies to your site.

Benefits for patients

Many patients are willing and eager to participate in trials because doing so can bring them a better quality of life in coping with their respective medical conditions. In addition to the opportunity for improved outcomes and better disease/condition management, the patient can benefit from the trials by receiving:

  • Free medications,
  • Increased medical attention and counseling,
  • Reimbursement payments (in most trials) to help offset the costs of travel and time, and
  • Free doctor visits specific to the disease or condition being analyzed in the trial.

All of these benefits reflect positively on the practice and the specific physician involved. And when the patient’s physician directly recommends that he or she participate in a particular study, the patient tends to be more compliant and participatory in the trial.

Benefits for the practice

Not only does the goodwill of the physician/ patient relationship improve as a result of the patient trial experience, but the physician and practice also receive both direct and intrinsic value for hosting the trials. Such benefits may include:

Net profit to the practice. Profits may come slowly and inconsistently to start. Once a practice conducts a consistent flow of studies, cash flow will likely even out and positively impact the practice’s bottom line.

Physician development and networking. Most studies require the principal investigator to go to informational meetings. In doing so, the physician is versed on the study protocol and desired outcomes. In addition, he or she is able to network with other physicians hosting the same protocol.

Professional recognition. Results of studies are typically published. Principal investigators who are high enrollers will be recognized. In addition, in some instances, principal investigators can publish an article (with the express consent of the pharmaceutical or medical device company) on the outcome of their own respective studies.

Marketability. Conducting clinical trials can bring prestige to the practice and assist with recruiting other physicians to the group as well as new patients. Clinical trials bring a new service to the practice that many other practices may not have. To eliminate competing patient bases, a study granted to one physician group will customarily not be placed with another group in close proximity.

Initial investments pay off

Physicians and patients are the two key components in the clinical trial process. And seeing as how physician practices have both, often in abundance, they are fast becoming essential to research and development in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. Make no mistake, though: Developing a reputable clinical trial program in your physician practice, and becoming an experienced principal investigator, will require an investment in time, effort and patience. Nonetheless, an established clinical trial program can bring value to your practice that will endure over time — as long as your commitment remains consistent.

Are you ready to start a conversation?

Tagged with: Healthcare Consulting