Dr. Hanid Audish Explains the Difference
Navigating the health care system can be a daunting prospect, especially those unfamiliar with healthcare practices. Dr. Hanid Audish is a Family medical practitioner with fifteen-plus years of professional experience. He takes the time to facilitate a side-by-side comparison of the differences between clinical trials and medical treatments.
Intent and Intended Benefit
The intent behind clinical trials differs from those of standard medical treatments. In clinical trials, the primary goal is to answer specific questions posed by medical researchers through human testing. In medical treatment, the primary goal is to address the specific needs of an individual patient.
The intended benefits of the two are also unaligned. Clinical trials are far-sighted studies, and any applicable results from the data collection and analysis are generally years or decades down the road. The idea is to benefit future patients. In contrast, medical treatment is intended to benefit the individual patient in the present day, or as near to the present day as possible.
Funding and Certainty
There are also fundamental differences in the way the two are funded. Clinical trials are primarily paid for by pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, whereas medical treatment is primarily paid for privately, through health plans or by patients themselves. As such, vastly different entities administer clinical trials and personalized medical treatment, and the actions taken by each are directed by separate criteria and decision-making processes.
Clinical trials often test products and procedures of unproven benefit to the patient; however, this is unacceptable practice in medical treatment. All medical devices, medications, and therapies prescribed by a doctor to a patient must be deemed safe and effective.
Assessment and Protections
Dr. Hanid Audish claims that there are also divergent procedures for assessment and protections between the two. In clinical trials, assessment involves periodic and systematic evaluation of the volunteer subjects, and mostly consists of the collection of generic data. Assessment in medical treatment is specific and personal and is based entirely on the needs of the individual patient.
As to protections, there are also some important differences. While clinical trials are protected by government agencies and institutional review boards, standard medical treatment is protected by state boards of medical practice and peer review. Although, it should be noted that both are protected by professional standards, informed consent, and the rule of law.