If you’ve taken a prescription medication at any point in your life, you’ve been touched by a clinical trial.
Many clinical trials are happening right here in Louisville. Norton Healthcare is a leading research site in multiple sclerosis, stroke, cancer and cardiology, just to name a few, which means patients don’t have to travel or leave their support system for access to cutting-edge treatments.
“Norton Healthcare currently is participating in approximately 850 clinical trials,” said Marti Gardner, director for clinical research operations at Norton Healthcare. “We’re the only community hospital in the region to offer many of these studies. Norton Healthcare has an extensive group of specialists with an interest in the value that research brings.”
In fact, Norton Healthcare is participating in trials available at prestigious institutions such as Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic. Many trials involve new medications, new uses for currently available medications or new devices. These and other trials are important because they give physicians the opportunity to track effectiveness and outcomes over time and develop best practices that could improve care for patients all over the world.
“Research opportunities also draw physicians to our city, which benefits patients on another level because more leading specialists are available to them,” Gardner said. “And nursing research also happens in our hospitals. Nurses use new methods of caring for inpatients and, in turn, develop practices that will positively affect future patients.”
Patients benefit from joining clinical trials for many reasons, most notably having access to the very latest treatments. Some patients enjoy being able to give back by impacting how others like them will be cared for. Other patients are drawn to the closer follow-up and more frequent interaction they may receive in a trial.
“Clinical trial participants must check in on a regular basis and report any changes or concerns in their health,” Gardner said. “And they are free to withdraw from a study at any time.”
When patients have access to treatments not otherwise available — allowing them to stay close to home, their usual routine and their support system — it not only helps with healing but costs less and improves quality of life.