Future Possibilities for Clinical Research


On a previous post we told you about tools that exist today which clinicians are able to use in order to enhance and innovate their research activities.We are now giving some ideas and insights about research tools that could and should be developed and made available in the near future.

First of all, we must now assume that most physicians will embrace electronic medical records (EMRs) and at least some kind of mobile device.

  1. Database cross-referencing and automated stats: When physicians click the buttons and add information in the EMR system that they use, all this information should be stored in a uniform database. Some tools that exist today allow access to healthcare records data from a whole state (like the SHIN-NY network in New York). An automatic statistical analysis component should be integrated into EHR systems; this component could be able to correlate in an ongoing basis most of the variables that are present in this database and flag a possible associations and this way calling the physician or researcher’s attention to further look into a specific, possible novel point.
  2. Quantified self and patient empowerment: Every day more and more physicians are working with their patients as a team. The unidirectional physician-patient relationship is seeing its last days. Today it is possible to prescribe an app or a website. In this manner, we are seeing data that we did not see before, data that is generated outside of the doctor’s office or hospital; and life happens mostly outside of the hospital. Data like prescription compliance or side effects, daily activities or calories consumed/burned, sleep patterns or anxiety episodes, weight variations or daily/hourly blood pressure values. These data could be automatically integrated into the EHR and its database for cross-referencing and automated statistical analysis.
  3. Open source medical research: This is a wide topic and probably needs its own post. But as an intro, physicians in different parts of the world and with access to different resources could merge their efforts towards a common goal. An open source research network should be created with its own social media integration, where members could list their projects, ideas and the steps that they need to follow to complete them and other users could collaborate in a crowd-source fashion, extending the barriers of medicine, where other disciplines offer their points of view.

These are just some ideas, we would love to hear from developers and medical entrepreneurs and see if some of these are viable. Maybe some of these are already being developed or integrated into already functioning systems. If you know about some of these, please let us know, we would love to be a part of the conversations.


The ball is at your side of the court: What do you think would make medical research more innovative?

Keep pushing forward.

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Futuristic American physician trained and raised in Venezuela. Passionate about healthy lifestyles, sports, public health and technology. Inspired by human values and the future. Will become an Orthopaedic Surgeon. Will push healthcare forward. Twitter: @AleMarc | Blog: http://alemarcmd.tumblr.com