Conference Encourages View of Patients as Research Partners

Photo: Reuters/Scanpix
3/2/2012 10:05 AM
Category: Sci-Tech

An international conference in its second of two days in Tallinn is aiming to bring the rarefied heights of research down to earth for patients and popularize clinical research on a broader level.

The event, "Science Together for All of Us. Example of Rheumatic Diseases," discusses how state, medical institutions and patients could contribute to clinical research and thereby develop the Estonian health care system as a whole.

Moderator Marika Tammaru says the conference aims to bring research to a popular level. “We will be talking about a model that has produced good results in the US where patients are seen as partners in the research," she said, describing how doctors gather data from clinical practice to use them in future for the good of patients with similar diagnoses.

The digital medical history developed in Estonia in 2006 allows patients and attending physicians to see health data but they cannot be used in the context of medical research.That has encouraged a view that research must be conducted on select patients. “Unfortunately such results do not provide much information for tomorrow's policy makers,” she said.

UN WHO spokesperson Amye Leong said every country has a role to help its people remain productive members of society regardless of age or disease. “Being part of a global initiative, Estonia has the opportunity to learn what measures have been successful in other countries and customize them to helping itself."

Kristopher Rikken

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