Internet to the Rescue

Aug 01, 2002

In response to concerns about the low level of patient participation in clinical trials, the British Medical Association has launched an internet resource aimed at encouraging more patients to take part. Aimed at healthcare professionals, the site explains how different types of trials are conducted and spells out their ethical and best practices requirements.

BMA's head of science and ethics, Dr. Vivienne Nathanson, warns that low patient participation can hinder medical research. She says, "The involvement and cooperation of doctors and patients is crucial to the success of a clinical trial."

The site includes several initiatives that should increase the number of trial participants, including links to online registers, where patients can find details of studies suitable for them. It also suggests to their doctors that they take part. One of the initiatives mentioned in the resource is that patients should be able to access online trial registers, so they can find out what trials are taking place. That way, they can suggest to their doctor that they would like to participate

The site also recommends that healthcare providers give internet resources for clinical trials more widespread publicity, such as in hospital waiting rooms and doctors' offices.

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