Is IRB A Four-Letter Word? Federal Medicine Needs Centralized System With Clear Guidelines
“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” – Carl Sagan (1934-1996)
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA.
I began my fascination with the scientific method and the process of research early in college.
Decades later (more than I like to admit) as I look back, I am awed at the accelerating pace of medical discovery and dismayed at the concurrent explosion in the bureaucracy of research conduct known as the Institutional Review Board (IRB).
Most of my medical research colleagues consider ‘IRB’ a four-letter word, and we all have personal horror stories of navigating procedural insanity imposed by IRBs, sometimes euphemistically referred to as the ‘office of preventative research,” in the name of human subject protection.
In fairness, IRBs are a vital component of the ethical conduct of sound research, ensuring that the safety and welfare of study participants is observed. More
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE APRIL ISSUE
Union Says Budget Proposal Increase Won't Ease Strain on VA Medical Personnel WASHINGTON, DC—Cost-cutting measures may be putting too much strain on VA’s already overburdened medical personnel, according to the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). The overall 2012 budget request for VA includes $50.9 billion for medical care— a net increase of $240 million over the 2012 advance appropriations request of $50.6 billion in the 2011 budget. But a physician speaking on behalf of the union noted that some cost savings are based on conversion of selected physician to non-physician providers; conversion of selected RNs to licensed practical nurses (LPNs); and different alignments of required clinical skills with patient needs. She said substituting other providers for physicians to meet VA access goals already has had negative consequences. Please read the full article and participate in this month's online opinion poll about using nonphysician providers to speed access to VA services.More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/union-says-budget-proposal-increase-wont-ease-strain-on-va-medical-personnel.html
Trying to Get Rest for the Weary: Managing Sleep Disorders in Returning Servicemembers WASHINGTON, DC— Insufficient sleep is not an uncommon problem, particularly among troops who have deployed. A study published in the Dec 1 issue of SLEEP found that servicemembers who completed a follow-up survey during deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan were 28% more likely to report having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep than those who had not yet been deployed. That is even more the case when post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, pain and traumatic brain injury (TBI) are involved. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) and Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Service recently held a conference to educate providers on sleep dysfunction and how they can help returning troops who are suffering from sleep issues. More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/trying-to-get-rest-for-the-weary-managing-sleep-disorders-in-returning-servicemembers.html
"Blue Button" Feature Offers Quick Access to Health Records, Plans Enhancements WASHINGTON, DC— Before long, TRICARE enrollees will be able to use the web-based “Blue Button” feature on TRICARE Online (TOL) for secure, two-way communication with providers. Other enhancements now underway will give members the ability to access and download their lab results, problem lists and encounter notes from data pulled from DoD and VA databases. The TOL Blue Button feature currently allows users the ability to view, print, and save their allergy profile, medication profile, and demographics in either PDF or text on their own computers. More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/blue-button-feature-offers-quick-access-to-health-records-for-military-patients-providers.html
Benefits of Robotic Stroke Rehab May Be Less Than Anticipated WASHINGTON, DC—After a group of VA-funded researchers at MIT announced that they had developed a robot-assisted therapy for stroke patients that greatly improved patient outcomes without significantly raising costs, the anticipation was that the use of robots would become widespread as the next generation of stroke rehabilitation. New data analysis, however, shows that the benefits of the robot therapy were statistically small, and the treatment’s cost-effectiveness is in question. More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/benefits-of-robotic-stroke-rehab-may-be-less-than-anticipated.html
Public Health Officials Optimistic About Dengue Fever Vaccine in A Few Years WASHINGTON, DC—With two-fifths of the world’s population at risk for dengue fever, a severe flu-like illness which sometimes leads to fatal complications, the development of a vaccine has long been an important, albeit elusive, goal in managing the disease. That research also is critical for deployed military personnel; without a vaccine or effective treatment, dengue infection can debilitate troops and effectively halt operations. Now, public health experts are expressing optimism about the availability of a dengue fever vaccine in the near future. More http://www.usmedicine.com/infectiousdisease/public-health-officials-optimistic-about-dengue-fever-vaccine-in-a-few-years.html
Legislators Call for Hearings on VA Infection Control Lapses, Hepatitis Cases DAYTON, OH— Congress members from Ohio are pushing for both U.S. House and Senate investigations into practices at a Dayton VAMC dental clinic that may have resulted in nine cases of hepatitis. In early February of this year, Dayton VAMC announced that, due to improper infection control procedures, it was asking 535 veterans who received care in the dental clinic between January 2002 and July 2010 to come in for free screenings for HIV and Hepatitis B and C. This is the latest in a series of infection control lapses that have plagued the VA. More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/legislators-call-for-hearings-on-va-infection-control-lapses-hepatitis-cases.html
Military Health Providers Risk Compassion Fatigue, Emotional Burnout in Helping Patients WASHINGTON, DC—Health care providers who work with traumatized patients are at risk for their own type of mental condition with symptoms that closely parallel post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The malady, known as “compassion fatigue” can lead to emotional burnout and a range of physical symptoms, according to a recent webinar held by the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). Multiple deployments and redeployments have made the problem even more common, speakers said. More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/strategies-help-military-health-providers-to-prevent-compassion-fatigue-emotional-burnout.html