Medical | March 12, 2018
More than one million articles are indexed in PubMed every year. How can physicians uncover practice-changing clinical research results and adopt them into practice quickly?
Novel diagnostic tests and better targeted therapies are exploding due to innovative discoveries in science and medicine. But it takes longer than you would expect for these new discoveries to make it into practice.
Let’s look at Zika virus as an example. Prior to the Zika virus outbreak in Brazil in 2015, a PubMed search about Zika virus yielded fewer than 110 research articles. The outbreak precipitated rapid research in the field, resulting in more than 3,000 articles being indexed in PubMed. By January of 2016, the Centers for Disease Control had enough clinical research data to make clear recommendations. Infants born to Zika-exposed mothers were to receive a comprehensive physical exam, head ultrasound and laboratory testing. Yet, by April 2017, only 25 percent of infants had received a head ultrasound and only 65 percent had laboratory testing for the Zika virus.
Let’s walk through what clinicians need to do to accelerate the adoption of research results into practice.
Step 1: Identify the most useful and relevant information and distinguish it from background noise.
Step 2: Critically appraise new information, understand the strengths and weaknesses of studies and identify the usefulness of findings.
Step 3: Synthesize information from several sources, understand new results in light of previously published studies and integrate the newly-gained knowledge in the context of the clinical needs of patients.
Scientists contribute to the understanding of basic biology and underlying disease mechanism, while clinicians provide insights on disease symptoms and how to apply scientific findings to patient care.
This takes considerable time, which most practicing clinicians simply don’t have, and is one of the reasons why point-of-care tools have become so popular. That makes sense, but one caution: it’s important for these types of tools to include scientists in the critical appraisal process. Scientists contribute to the understanding of basic biology and underlying disease mechanism, while clinicians provide insights on disease symptoms and how to apply scientific findings to patient care.
Read the new DynaMed Plus® white paper to learn more about why the rapid pace of scientific advances have improved our understanding of science and medicine, but also made the process that much more challenging.
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