News | February 02, 2015

SCAI 2015 Hildner Lecture Will Highlight Critical Need for More Clinical Research in Interventional Cardiology

Robert Harrington, M.D. of Stanford to deliver lecture at SCAI 2015 scientific sessions

Cath lab

Image courtesy of GE Healthcare

February 2, 2015 — New clinical research is essential to the development of hospital quality measurement, public reporting and pay-for-performance programs, according to Robert Harrington, M.D., FSCAI, chair of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, who will present the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI) 2015 Scientific Sessions Hildner Lecture, “The Future of Clinical Research in Interventional Cardiology: Challenges and Opportunities,” on Friday, May 8, in San Diego. In his lecture, Harrington will argue that simplification of larger trials, better early-phase investigations and the use of electronic health records can ease the path to new research.

“There needs to be a commitment on behalf of interventional cardiology to make sure that we get those quality indicators right,” said Harrington, “and the way we do that is through clinical investigation.”

Harrington is an internationally recognized expert in clinical research, having led the world’s largest academic clinical research organization, Duke Clinical Research Institute. During his five years in this role, his more than 200 faculty and 1,200 staff members conducted studies in 65 countries. After nearly two decades at Duke, he joined the Stanford Department of Medicine in 2012, where he currently heads 330 faculty in 14 divisions.

In his SCAI 2015 lecture, Harrington will discuss why the demand for research is especially high now, as emphasis continues to build for following practice guidelines and appropriate use criteria and for meeting new quality improvement benchmarks. Evidence-based guidelines established by professional societies are the foundation for clinical practice, and there is an expectation by the public that physicians are following these guidelines, said Harrington.

“Clinical research,” Harrington stressed, “is what makes these guidelines possible. Increasingly, reimbursement is tied to some of these performance and quality performance indicators.”

He will also discuss the challenges of integrating clinical research into practice because of the complexity of the rules and regulations that govern research. Further complicating clinical research is the challenge of limited funding, particularly from the National Institutes of Health, according to Harrington. Partnerships with industry and increased lobbying have become important for generating research dollars, but these efforts are complicated.

“The intense examination of relationships between clinical academic researchers and industry partners has threatened the ability to do excellent collaborative work,” he said.

Harrington hopes to inspire the invasive and interventional cardiologists attending SCAI 2015 to undertake more clinical research and stimulate interest in their younger peers, who will require a considerable amount of training before they are ready to venture out into the research environment on their own.

“We face a difficult road, and we have to pay attention to the next generation of clinical investigators,” he said. “The need for evidence is not going to diminish, and we need people who can generate it, interpret it and disseminate it.”

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