The Importance of Health Research

The Importance of Health Research

Like privacy, health research has high value to society. It can provide important information about disease trends and risk factors, outcomes of treatment or public health interventions, functional abilities, patterns of care, and health care costs and use. The different approaches to research provide complementary insights. Clinical trials can provide important information about the efficacy and adverse effects of medical interventions by controlling the variables that could impact the results of the study, but feedback from real-world clinical experience is also crucial for comparing and improving the use of drugs, vaccines, medical devices, and diagnostics. For example, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of a drug for a particular indication is based on a series of controlled clinical trials, often with a few hundred to a few thousand patients, but after approval it may be used by millions of people in many different contexts. Therefore, tracking clinical experience with the drug is important for identifying relatively rare adverse effects and for determining the effectiveness in different populations or in various circumstances. It is also vital to record and assess experience in clinical practice in order to develop guidelines for best practices and to ensure high-quality patient care.

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