A new method for medical research, the "point-of-care clinical trial," will be tested in a study looking to find a better way to control hypoglycemia in 3,000 diabetic, nonintensive-care patients at an undisclosed Veterans Affairs Healthcare System hospital.
VA hospital will test 'point-of-care' clinical trial
In a report published in the journal Clinical Trials describing the study, researchers from Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., and the VA Boston Healthcare System describe how the VA's VistA electronic health-record system will be used to conduct a clinical trial in which the "apparatus" of the study—involving recruitment, randomization and attaining consent—is embedded into routine care.
"The idea of embedding research into clinical care has been around for quite a while, but to my knowledge this is the first time that a randomized trial has been fully integrated into a hospital's informatics system," said Dr. Louis Fiore, an internist and medical informaticist with the VA Boston Healthcare System, in a news release. “It demonstrates an effective way to use electronic medical records to improve healthcare at a local level.”
By using data already present in the VistA EHR system, according to the report, researchers will be able to collect data and analyze endpoints "with minimal contamination of the clinical-care 'ecosystem' by intrusive study operations." The researchers added that the goal is to deliver the best care to patients while simultaneously learning from each experience.
Additionally, the report noted, a rapid synthesis of research data will lead to the findings being more rapidly disseminated and, it is hoped, the processes used to achieve those findings more rapidly adopted by providers.
Outcomes that researchers are seeking include a shorter length of stay, fewer infections, fewer kidney injury episodes and a reduced need for dialysis and blood transfusions. The study is being funded by the VA Cooperative Studies Program and the National Institutes of Health.
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