Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How can involvement in medical research improve a patient's outlook?

Today's guest post comes from Document Capture Co. are specialists in automating data capture. In particular, they have a large amount of experience implementing quick and cost-effective data collection methods for research projects.

It can be hard enough to gather a broad, appropriate sample of data when your audience is fit and healthy. However, those who need to conduct surveys among the seriously ill or injured have many more problems to consider. Managing data capture within the medical profession poses unique challenges for both researchers and the patients themselves, whose communication skills may often be limited by their conditions. Furthermore, patients can be understandably reluctant to become involved with medical research, particularly if they are in pain, uncomfortable, anguished or have had their cognitive faculties impaired.

Working with different sectors within the NHS has demonstrated to us just how wide, varied and challenging the task of data capture solutions can be. Some of the work we’ve undertaken has involved developing custom devices for patients suffering from a wide range of debilitating ailments, including those suffering from mental health problems, stroke survivors and those undergoing speech therapy. Such patients would struggle to communicate through conventional means, and certainly in regards to clinical research. Our challenges have covered everything from finding solutions that must be operated easily by those whose speech or motor functions are impaired, including customized mobile devices with larger buttons or more ergonomic cases through to voice capture software to help record the responses of those less able to write or operate technology.

In these cases, far from feeling like guinea pigs, patients are given an opportunity for expression that otherwise may be unavailable to them. Whilst long periods spent in hospital can often leave patients feeling helpless, involvement in clinical trials can actually help patients to feel as if they are taking back control over their condition. This increased involvement can be, therefore, a highly cathartic experience.

Whilst medical research is a highly challenging field that isn’t always portrayed in the best light in the press, there is a growing body of studies that suggest that health research can improve a patient’s outlook, treatment and understanding of their condition. We anticipate an increasing requirement for other such devices that will make it possible to communicate with those for whom it would otherwise be difficult to do so in order to improve the media’s portrayal of an exceedingly difficult profession. We need solutions that are highly inventive and individual to cater for the needs of those less able to help themselves

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