Challenges With Engaging Military Stakeholders for Clinical Research at the Point of Care in the U.S. Military Health System.
The DoD has a specific mission that creates unique challenges for the conduct of clinical research. These unique challenges include (1) the fact that medical readiness is the number one priority, (2) understanding the role of military culture, and (3) understanding the highly transient flow of operations. Appropriate engagement with key stakeholders at the point of care, where research activities are executed, can mean the difference between success and failure. These key stakeholders include the beneficiaries of the study intervention (patients), clinicians delivering the care, and the military and clinic leadership of both. Challenges to recruitment into research studies include military training, temporary duty, and deployments that can disrupt availability for participation. Seeking medical care is still stigmatized in some military settings. Uniformed personnel, including clinicians, patients, and leaders, are constantly changing, often relocating every 2-4 years, limiting their ability to support clinical trials in this setting which often take 5-7 years to plan and execute. When relevant stakeholders are constantly changing, keeping them engaged becomes an enduring priority. Military leaders are driven by the ability to meet the demands of the assigned mission (readiness). Command endorsement and support are critical for service members to participate in stakeholder engagement panels or clinical trials offering novel treatments. To translate science into relevant practice within the Military Health System, early engagement with key stakeholders at the point of care and addressing mission-relevant factors is critical for success.
Rhon, DI; Oh, RC; Teyhen, DS
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