Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Taking Health Care Research Seriously

An editorial in the AMA journal described the explosion in research findings and how difficult it is to put the results into everyday practice. They recommend that social scientists become more involved in spreading the word about new developments. Also recommended is more emphasis on multiple interventions in research protocols to get greater effects. This would be a better approach to examine natural remedies, which are often synergistic with each other. Not mentioned in the article is that large, expensive studies are required to find statistically significant outcomes. What follows is the larger the study, the less likely the intervention will help the patient. For example large studies have shown that statin drugs might reduce heart attacks, but you have to treat 100 patients to prevent one heart attack.

See Pronovost PJ. Time to Take Health Delivery Research Seriously. JAMA, (click here subcription needed) July 20, 2011, 310.

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