Transparent Science

greater transparency = better outcomes

Ideally, we all seek transparency in life to enable us to make unbiased decisions. It is always best to examine all evidence, wherever it takes us as it’s how we learn. In matters of health that decision and the evidence that we rely on can in some cases be a matter of life and death.

However, gaining fully unbiased evidence may not always possible. In the medical world, it surprises many that the majority of the results of clinical trials are often not published. Those ‘evidence based’ trials which are published, may in some cases do so when the outcomes match the wishes of their sponsoring individual or company. In the majority of cases, trial results are never published, often and sadly, because of some unacceptable harms to trial patients. Safeguarding patients is an essential part of all trials, before there can be any mass roll out of medicines to large numbers of patients. But, due to the high costs of clinical trials the rewards and temptations are high to present only results which show a medicine in a favourably good light.

But as we progress with communications technology, we are able to feedback and track the effects of medicines where they help and where they may harm. With greater transparency there is a great opportunity for better patient outcomes by the global ease with which we can share the experiences of other patients. Initially, by use of social media and anecdote, but over time such feed-back could help frame the direction of approved Clinical Trials based upon solid evidence.

During the last century there has been enormous progress in disease control, human longevity and surgical procedures. From the first heart transplant 50 years ago it is now an almost frequent procedure. Modern and mobile technologies enable medicines to be tracked when and where they are used and will become almost commonplace, with the availability for health app’s on almost every mobile device.

With increased medical transparency the gains can only be good for the patient and the payer, in short a win-win for fully Transparent Science.