Accelerating Advances into Medical Practice

From the Institute for Alternative Futures:

While the future promises major advances in healthcare, they will be slow to move into medical practice unless the U.S. confronts access and other larger problems in its healthcare delivery system, according to IAF President Clem Bezold in a March 3 keynote speech to private funders of healthcare research.

The time lag in moving new knowledge from a controlled clinical trial into medical practice is about 17 years, according to the 2000 Yearbook of Medical Informatics, and has been defined as the “second translational block.” (The first translational block is the lag between basic science and testing a new idea or compound in clinical research.) Bezold addressed this challenge at the meeting, Partnering to Advance Health Research: Philanthropy’s Role. The meeting’s sponsors were the leading private funders of healthcare research: Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, American Heart Association, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International, Arthritis Foundation, Burroughs Wellcome Fund, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and American Cancer Society (Hey, that’s us!).

Indeed, I’ve heard speakers in bioinfomatics and molecular medicine predict it will take another generation of physicians to implement emerging infomation and techniques.