Monday, August 7, 2017

Selfless Giving

Below is my monthly message for the August 2017 edition of the MHRI newsletter, Focus. You can view Focus online at

“We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill
Friends and Colleagues,
Did you know that:
  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood?
  • Approximately 36,000 units of red blood cells are needed every day in the U.S.?
  • A single car accident can result in the need for as many as 100 pints of blood? 

Imagine what would happen if no one gave blood. We have a health care system that is dependent on the selfless gifts from millions of people each year.
And blood is not the only selfless gift medicine is dependent on. In a recent survey of over 1000 Americans, 75% felt that taking part in a clinical trial is as valuable to our health care system as giving blood. An overwhelming majority of Americans (86%!) also agree that health care professionals should discuss clinical trials with patients as part of their standard of care. Standard of care – that is a strong statement! Traditionally, clinical research was viewed as something for only those at elite academic hospitals or only for patients with severe illnesses but what this recent study says is that the majority of Americans want access to and information on clinical trials on a routine basis.
The study also explored the factors that determine if someone chooses to participate in a clinical trial. Not surprisingly, the most important factor is if they are asked by someone they trust (74%). Nearly two-thirds (64%) say a doctor or health care provider is the most reliable source for the clinical trial information but, the sad part, is that only 18% said they or someone in their family has ever been asked to participate.
And here is the part that struck me the most – when asked about the factors important to you in participating in a clinical trial, 87% felt it was an opportunity to improve the health of others - A truly selfless act.
At MedStar Health, we are in an ideal situation to respond by connecting our patients to  research. We sit at the crossroads of academics and real world medicine and we have built an infrastructure to bring research into a diverse set of clinical environments. This fall, we will be incorporating research into our electronic health records (Cerner’s PowerTrials) to further enhance communication and collaboration between the clinical and research teams and thus empower every clinician with access to trials across MedStar Health.
MedStar is committed to providing the care our patients need and the care that they want. Thank you for being part of our commitment to advancing health and I hope you are enjoying this beautiful summer weekend.

Read Focus at

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