SEATTLE — Clinical trials are systematic investigations of drugs or devices and are an integral part of research and medical advances. In a clinical trial, researchers test the investigational device or drug in a group of individuals.
Because trials are so important for medical advancements, the vision for the research program at EvergreenHealth is to offer a clinical trial to all patients that walk in the door.
“Just as you would see a physical therapist or you might see a nutritionist, we want you to be able to see a researcher,” said Anhaita Jamula, director of the research program at EvergreenHealth.
Research is part of the toolbox for physicians in providing cutting-edge care. EvergreenHealth offers trials for patients that are appropriate for their condition or disease with the goal of improving their well-being.
One of the common misconceptions about patients in clinical trials is that they’re “guinea pigs.”
“I’m here to tell you that you’re actually anything but that,” Jamula said. “You’re a medical hero. Safety is paramount in clinical trials for us. Safety is actually built into all of the clinical trial pathways.”
Before researchers even see their first patient for a trial, studies have had several rounds of board reviews from scientists and physicians. Researchers work with the FDA, pharmaceutical companies and physicians to ensure the study is done in a safe manner.
Another misconception is that research may not belong at a community hospital. In reality, most patients are seen in community hospitals throughout the nation, and they want to get their research care and clinical care all under one roof. Patients also often want to know that their doctors are part of emerging treatments.
The FDA recently provided guidance to ensure all people are being represented in clinical trials irrespective of age, race, gender or socioeconomic status.
“In order for the drug or for the medication or device to work in everybody, you have to have clinical trials that welcome people of all genders, races and ages, etc.,” Jamula said.
To learn more and explore open trials at EvergreenHealth, visit the EvergreenHealth Research Program website.