Meeting the Challenges Facing Clinical Research: Solutions Proposed by Leaders of Medical Specialty and Clinical Research Societies


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Abstract

The development of a robust national clinical research enterprise is needed to improve health care, but faces formidable challenges. To define the impediments and formulate solutions, the Institute of Medicine's Clinical Research Roundtable convened leaders from medical specialty and clinical research societies in 2003. Participants considered how to influence clinical research funding priorities, promote mechanisms to train physicians and other health care professionals to conduct clinical research, and how to encourage health care providers to follow evidence-based medical practice. Consensus emerged on multiple issues, including intersociety collaboration, the need for a core clinical research curriculum for training the new cadre of clinical researchers, joint advocacy for increased funding of clinical research and for the education of policymakers and the public on the benefits of clinical research. Specific recommendations were made on mechanisms for recruitment, training, and retention of clinical research trainees and mentors. Steps were outlined (1) to overcome career disincentives and develop appropriate reward systems for mentors and trainees, (2) to encourage use of web-based and continuing-medical-education-based mechanisms to bring practitioners up to date on issues in and results of clinical research, and (3) to create incentives for individuals, clinics, and hospitals to practice evidence-based medicine (EBM). Collectively, the response and proposed strategies can serve as a roadmap to improve clinical research funding and training, evidence-based medical practice, and health care quality.

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