Enhancing Urology Private Practices Through Clinical Research Partnerships
By Howard Abromowitz MD, FACS
Today, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a urologic condition, and urologic cancers are the most diagnosed in the U.S., with prostate cancer being the second leading cause of cancer death among men. There is a pressing need to expand clinical research to unlock new therapies that can improve the quality of life for people living with urologic conditions and potentially save the lives of patients diagnosed with cancer.
Clinical trials have long been the catalyst for advancing innovative drugs and treatments that vastly improve health outcomes for patients suffering from urologic conditions. What is becoming clear is the important role that private practice urologists can play in clinical trial research to advance medical knowledge and enhance patient care.
At ObjectiveHealth, we believe the intersection of private practices and clinical trials represents an ideal opportunity to revolutionize urologic care. Patients receive innovative treatments, urologists strengthen patient relationships, and trial sponsors are better positioned to meet (and hopefully exceed) patient recruitment and retention goals.
Urologists are unique in the medical profession, providing an important opportunity to expand even further into trials. They treat a wide variety of diseases and conditions that affect men and women at all stages of life. In addition to being surgeons, they also deliver personalized, ongoing care to improve the lives of their patients living with chronic disease and related disorders. At ObjectiveHealth, we partner with urologist practices to seamlessly integrate clinical research and make patient participation a natural extension of the care process.
Currently, our company is partnering with urologists at 31 locations across 16 states to provide patients with access to innovative diagnostic tools, treatments and therapies aimed at improving health outcomes in urologic disease states.
Here are four ways that adding clinical trials to a practice can benefit urologists and their patients:
- Advance patient care through clinical trials
We view clinical research as an effective tool for urologists to enhance patient care. When clinical trials become a natural extension of the practice, physicians can expand access to ground-breaking preventative testing and ongoing care protocols – and forge stronger bonds with patients.
A growing body of research backs that up. One meta-analysis, for example, examined patient trust in healthcare professionals with health outcomes. The study reported a strong connection between positive long-term health outcomes and patients who
had a high level of trust in their doctors. The researchers found that patients who had a high level of trust in their doctors reported “more beneficial health behaviors, less symptoms and higher quality of life” and were “more satisfied with treatment.”
- Improve long-term care for patients
Improved screening and detection methods, combined with new drugs and therapies, have given cancer patients new hope. More people are living longer and surviving, allowing cancer to be managed or controlled like chronic disease.
Prostate cancer is a prime example. By participating in clinical research, urology specialists can contribute to the development of better screening tools, predictive models and novel treatments. Our work with liver disease, for example, confirms that.
The findings of one study in which ObjectiveHealth participated identified screening protocols to better predict which patients should be assessed for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and liver fibrosis, which would lead to earlier treatment interventions. Patients who did not qualify for the trial but received free Fibroscan during the initial assessment were also able to better understand their overall liver health.
- Enhance a practice’s reputation in the community
Clinical research can be a game changer for urology clinics. Partnering with trial sponsors helps physicians differentiate their urology practices in the communities they serve. That is an important consideration because a vast majority (72%) of consumers read online physician ratings and reviews when choosing a doctor, according to the 2022 Healthcare Trends Report.
By making clinical trials an ongoing part of a practice, urology specialists demonstrate their commitment to providing comprehensive care and staying current with the latest scientific breakthroughs. This commitment not only attracts new patients but also fosters patient loyalty, and further strengthens the practice’s standing in the community as a healthcare leader.
- Expand the diversity of trial participants
Diversity in clinical trials is crucial to ensuring that research findings apply to a broad range of patients. The urgency is such that Congress passed new legislation at the beginning of 2023 that requires the Food and Drug Administration to create a plan to increase diversity in clinical trials.
Urology specialists can play a pivotal function in recruiting diverse patient populations, including underserved and rural communities, which historically have been underrepresented in research studies. When clinical trials are part of a practice’s extended care, patients in those communities can receive much-needed treatment plans that can lead to better health outcomes.
Urologic disease and cancer cost the U.S. healthcare system an estimated $11 billion annually in medical preventative and oncology care. By partnering with ObjectiveHealth and our leading-edge clinical trial research and technology platform, urologists offer unparalleled access to new life-saving options that can improve the lives and standard of care for patients in their communities.