Patient-reported quality of life surveys used in clinical trials
Clinical studies of drugs, medical devices, and medical procedures are an essential part of medical research. Clinical trials can lead to breakthrough results for patients and their families. This was recently illustrated by the clinical trials and FDA approval of vaccines for COVID-19. The vaccines, approved in clinical trials, have been given to hundreds of millions of people around the world and have saved countless lives. Medical research and clinical trials are conducted daily and continue to deliver life-saving and life-extending measures to improve medical care and human condition.
One of the most important aspects of any clinical trial is patient surveys. Patient surveys used in clinical trials are used in a variety of ways, all of which improve researchers’ knowledge of a patient’s medical and biological background. Quality of life surveys are used by medical researchers to determine how a patient is feeling during the study. A measure of how well a drug is working is when a patient, especially a patient who is elderly, has a debilitating chronic disease, or has an incurable disease, feels that their quality of life has been improved by the drug. Learn more about using quality of life surveys during the clinical trial process.
The importance of surveys on patient quality of life
During the clinical trial process, patients participate in research studies. Biological information about patients and their medical information are recorded and used as part of the research process. Clinical studies mean that patients are usually divided into two groups. One group of patients receives a placebo drug while the other group of patients receives the drug. Unlike other types of research, clinical trials for drugs can take months or even years. During the studies, patients receive quality of life surveys in their native language. In the United States, Spanish polls are the most frequently used language polls alongside English.
Quality of life surveys typically ask patients to discuss their current lifestyle. In the case of elderly patients or patients with chronic or terminal diseases, the patients in the quality of life are usually asked about their behavior and symptoms during the day. For example, patients suffering from an incurable disease such as cancer can, during a Quality of life survey whether they could enjoy physical activities such as yoga or a walk during the day.
Patients might be asked if they could leave home to run errands, nap, or enjoy family time. Researchers will want to know if a patient could go on a date with their partner or paint with their grandchild. It is these moments of quality of life, as reported in a survey, that researchers use to determine clinical trial results. While researchers can examine the physical or biological changes that occur during a clinical trial, a patient’s quality of life surveys can be critical to medical outcomes.
How quality of life surveys are improving technology for patients
Another area where quality of life surveys improve patient outcomes during clinical trials is in medical technology. Medical technology has been pushing the boundaries of patient quality of life for decades. These improvements in medical technology would not have been possible without surveys on quality of life. For example, end-stage cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy would have to return to their doctor’s offices for additional medication for some of the side effects of chemotherapy. Thanks to medical research and quality of life surveys, patients after chemotherapy can now receive helpful medication at home. Patients reported that they were able to rest and recover faster after chemotherapy because they did not have to go to the doctor’s office.
Not only is the technology helping patients undergoing chemotherapy, but quality of life surveys have also improved the lives of seniors and those with chronic conditions like COPD. Medical technology has advanced the use of portable oxygen packs, which give COPD patients the ability to move around with a purse-sized oxygen device rather than trying to lug around an oxygen bottle. In surveys of the quality of life of medical devices, patients reported tremendous improvements in their ability to enjoy outdoor activities with family and friends and a reduction in the stress associated with worrying about lack of oxygen.
If patients have the opportunity to tell doctors about the quality of life they have changed due to drugs or medical technology, medical professionals can gain insights into how their research improves the lives of elderly, chronically ill, or terminally ill patients on a daily basis.
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