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US Physician and Nurse Proclivity to Refer Their Patients Into Clinical Trials

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Clinical research awareness, familiarity, referral proclivity, and practice have been assessed to varying degrees among US-based physicians specializing in oncology but very few studies have assessed these attitudes and behaviors among US physicians and nurses outside of oncology.


To address this gap, the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development (Tufts CSDD) conducted a study of 589 US-based physicians and 1255 US-based nurses.

Results and Conclusions

US health care providers have very limited exposure to clinical research in medical and nursing school and in professional meetings. Very high percentages of multispecialty nurses and doctors view clinical trials as health care options, are interested in referring their patients into appropriate clinical trials, and are comfortable providing clinical trial information to, and discussing clinical trial opportunities with, their patients. Yet US physicians and nurses refer very small numbers of patients each year largely because of the inability to access clinical trial information, and the lack of sufficient information and time to evaluate and confidently discuss clinical trial options with their patients. Several factors are predictors of referral behavior, including proximity to research activity and past involvement in clinical research as an investigator, study coordinator, or study volunteer. The results of this study offer new insights into addressing low referral rates among US health care providers.

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Correspondence to Kenneth A. Getz MBA.

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Getz, K.A. US Physician and Nurse Proclivity to Refer Their Patients Into Clinical Trials. Ther Innov Regul Sci 54, 404–410 (2020).

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