Communications Breakdowns in the Scientific Community - And How to Fix Them

Communications Breakdowns in the Scientific Community - And How to Fix Them

02.01.13 | By

A colleague shared with me today an opinion piece in The Scientist that got me thinking about physicians and their hectic lives.

The article delved into the communication breakdown that is occurring in the scientific community. Author David Rubenson cited several challenges, including staying up to date with the "deluge of articles coming from the growing number of print and on-line journals." With busy schedules and innumerable responsibilities and obligations, is the medical community taking the time to properly speak to each other about the very work and developments that can help strengthen patient health?

For physicians, this is a real struggle as their lives become increasingly complex. From significant amounts of paperwork to evolving administrative duties and increasing patient needs, physicians are busier than ever. Despite this increasing workload, physicians must strive to stay current on the latest medical knowledge and practice standards, including research on new treatments and medicines available to patients. Shockingly, one study found that a primary care physician would have to read 341 relevant medical journals and 7,287 monthly articles, equaling more than 627 reading hours per month, just to stay current on all medical literature. But who has time when you're treating patients?

This makes information from biopharmaceutical research companies a crucial source for physicians. Just a couple of ways that biopharmaceutical companies help physicians stay current on medical information while balancing heavy workloads:

  • Engaging in-person dialogues with biopharmaceutical professionals about new drugs and treatments approved by the FDA. Through these discussions, physicians also learn about new uses of existing medicines, the latest clinical data, appropriate dosing, and emerging safety and risk information that could affect their decisions about appropriate patient care.
  • Participating in research, including clinical trials. Physician participation is integral to the success of these trials, as they conduct the research, track patient progress, and may report the research in peer-reviewed journals.

With shrinking free time and information overload, dialogues with biopharmaceutical professionals continue to be an effective way for physicians to stay on top of the constantly evolving world of medicine. I encourage you to visit Partners for Healthy Dialogues to dig in deeper on this topic. PhRMA is a partner of this effort, along with several other groups, including physician organizations. It's a good source to help spread the word about the physician-biopharmaceutical collaborations and information exchanges that are currently under way to bring all of us better care.

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