Clinical Trials and EHRs: Incentive to Integrate
By Chris Thorman
March 31, 2010 | Expert Commentary | Clinical trials should play a much bigger role in the decision to purchase electronic health records (EHR) software. One incentive for practices is that participation in clinical trials has the potential to net a profit of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. Using EHR data in clinical trials is a win for physicians, patients, the companies conducting clinical trials and the entire health care system.
While there are many factors that go into an EHR software purchase, clinical trial participation deserves more consideration because:
EHR Software Facilitates Clinical Trial ParticipationAccording to Synergyst Research, only 10% of licensed physicians participate in clinical trials. Major reasons include the extra burden that research and information collection place on a practice’s time, staff and resources. Extra paperwork and onerous regulations are involved, not to mention training staff on how to properly complete forms and follow protocol. The average practice would find it difficult to find the resources to create a new department devoted to clinical trial participation.
Those using EHRs, however, stand a better chance of being able to adapt to the needs of a study. There are several that EHR software can make the clinical trial process faster, more efficient and more accurate:
By using an EHR to do much of the patient identification and information collection, many of the previously mentioned obstacles no longer exist. If a practice purchases EHR software that doubles as an electronic data capture (EDC) system for clinical trials, then it is way ahead of the curve in terms of efficiency and accuracy.
Clinical Trials Are Important to the Future of Health CareWe all know the alarming cost and time required to bring a new drug to market, not to mention the 75% failure rate. This mediocre productivity leads to increased health care costs and patient suffering as drug approval is delayed. If clinical trials could be completed more quickly using EHR software, it wouldn’t just be drug companies that benefit. Sick patients waiting on essential treatment would be treated more quickly, health care costs would be reduced, and the conclusions reached from the data gathered would be more robust.
Get a Stronger Return on Your EHR Investment
First, HMG is able to quickly query their EHR database to see which patients qualify for particular studies. Next, the scope of patient information contained within their EHRs helps improve accuracy when screening patients for clinical trials. Finally, HMG’s EHR is web-based, which means that its doctors always have access to the latest patient information, no matter where the doctor is located.
As clinical trials become more protracted and expensive every year, it’s inevitable that drug companies will turn to those organizations that can quickly and accurately assess patient data. More than likely, those organizations will be using EHR software.
Chris Thorman blogs about medical technology at Software Advice, a web site that reviews software for EHRs. This commentary is adapted from Chris' blog: Electronic Health Records and Clinical Trials: An Incentive to Integrate.
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