Is there a need for investigator-initiated research?
- Viraj Ramesh Suvarna
- Perspectives in clinical research
Clinical research implies advancing current knowledge about health care by continually developing and testing new ideas about diseases, products, procedures, and strategies. Although this trait is inherent in human nature, it needs to be encouraged, nurtured, groomed, and channelized by creating a suitable atmosphere for it, providing the necessary resources, inculcating the necessary conceptual and manual skills, and rewarding the efforts and achievements suitably. Language, logic, statistics, and psychology play an important role in acquiring and developing research capability. To be socially relevant and economically viable, clinical research will need to partner with patients and their doctors in identifying what their goals of health care are, what they value, and what they are willing to "buy" in terms of goods and services. Besides, clinical research will need to bring on one platform the sponsors, the researchers, the patients, the payers, and the regulators to ensure that they do not work at cross purposes, that the cost of developing health care measures is scaled down through innovative approaches such as large simple trials, sequential trials, early marketing conditional on post-marketing surveillance, and so on. All these will be possible if day-to-day practice is slowly and systemically transformed into the largest laboratory of clinical research, which it ought to be, by forming networks of research-oriented practices, and popularizing the use of data collection and analysis tools such as Epi Info which are in the public domain.