Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Rural populations underrepresented in clinical trials; communication seems to be a major part of the problem

Clinical trials can help patients who haven't been cured with permanently approved treatments, but new research proves what many medical researchers have long known: People in medically under-served areas, mainly rural, appear to not know how to find out more about clinical trials, and community physicians reported not having appropriate information to give them, Kristie Kahl reports for Cure, a publication about cancer updates, research and education.

According to the study, to be presented at the American Association for Cancer Research's annual meeting in April, rural patients are often underrepresented in clinical trials and biobanking, in which samples of bodily fluids or tissue are collected for medical research. That means researchers don't understand as much as they could about rural populations.

Terry Davis, professor of medicine and pediatrics at Louisiana State University and co-author of the study, said it's a communication problem: "Researchers often assume that patients and community providers know more than they do about clinical trials and understand all of our jargon."

One recurring problem was differences in terminology. Researchers might say "clinical trials" whereas patients might call them "studies." And while researchers say "biobanking," the patients Davis and her colleagues surveyed better understood them saying "your blood or tissue will be stored in a bank."

1 comment:

janelane said...

It seems unlikely that the problem is about communication, rather than geographical access. The examples used here make it sound like rural people are all too stupid to understand the difference between clinical trial and study. Maybe another barrier might be the urban perception that all rural people are dumb.