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New Year greetings to all the professionals who just are not clinicians or academicians but are also enthusiastic learners!!!!

Yes, the fact that you are actively following DR and its issues, instead of binge watching any of the new Netflix series or scrolling through the instagram in your leisure time, itself sets your positive tone right away!

So, in this piece of literary work let us today talk about something that will step up not just your practice, skill set or revenue, but it will step up “YOU”….

In today’s start up era when everything is about branding and digitalization, personal branding is just not the way to showcase your presence in the overpopulated and competitive scenario but it is your unique signature of how you are different from others in the flock.

“By saying this I just remember the famous cartoon by Captain Kangaroo of a horse wearing striped pyjamas to get different in his tribe !!!!” (Fig 1)

Yes, so let us skip the pajamas and get ourselves a new robe!

Think of being a doctor like being a lifelong student – if you stop learning new and wearing new hats, you’re in trouble! Now, imagine a world where every doctor, from the newbies to the seasoned pros, don’t dive into research. It’s like a world without a treasure trove of super helpful info – pretty dull, right? So, unless every dentist or more broadly healthcare professional gulps down the goodness of research, we’re left with a world starving for the most valuable and at times lifesaving information. Let’s keep the curiosity alive, because that’s the key to a world full of awesome wisdom!

Research and publications for Private Practitioners

For a long, long time or let’s say that it is almost a stone age belief in the field of medical science, that people believed that writing scientific papers or doing research was just for the doctors who are more academic folks rather than the hardcore clinicians…. (Fig 2)

The belief precisely comes from the fact that research publications are essential to get academic promotions or pay raise or secure an academic job or just because it is made mandatory by the various committees including NMC, DCI or NAAC. But you know what? That’s not the deal for private doctors or clinicians. They usually say no to the whole writing and publishing thing because it seems like a big hassle and no significance. But is it really? Let’s find out!

Beating up this stone –age belief about research and publication, I want to quote in the most confident way that – Believe it or not, those private hospitals, clinics, and labs are like hidden treasure troves of real-time information about diseases and how treatments are doing. It’s like a secret base where all the action happens in real, way more than in those fancy research labs or colleges which are more focused on theory. These places, albeit much understated, are buzzing with the lowdown on what’s actually working in the benefit of the patient and what’s not!

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Guess what? Clinicians, actually conducts those last phase trials at times at much larger scale and much before than any of the academic institutes and they often play around with new and cool treatments and technologies that come every day in the ever growing market of healthcare industry and diagnostics. (Fig 3)

They might mix up some drugs in a different way or tweak the dosage to find what really works for their patients.

But here’s the kicker – private practitioners don’t realize they’re doing something super smart and helpful! If this invaluable data or simply experience on few patients doesn’t get documented, the whole world misses out on these great treatment tricks, and the clinician doesn’t get the credit they deserve.

Constructing a research paper and publishing it thereby is a win-win situation for the individual doctor for gaining spotlight and credibility and for the entire healthcare fraternity for enjoying the precious live and real updates in the field…

So, there’s no point in keeping these awesome secrets to ourselves, right?

Diving Deeper into the hardcore research into your private practice

The above write up was about how you can utilize the already collected patient data for building up of research portfolio of your clinic or private set up. The retrospective study on the already existing patient’s records does not involve much documentation in terms of ethical approval or meticulous patient consent, routine documents and patient consents also suffice the need for such kind of studies.

However, prospective studies with newer interventions need several approvals including institutional ethics committee, patients consent in vernacular language as also sometimes even audio visual consent is required and if some new drug or instrument etc. is being used the whole drill is then orchestrated including FDA etc.

Having said that introducing something novel or testing some drug for the first time on your patient is quite risky and private clinics personally I believe are very small units which also lack the necessary infrastructure and also the support in terms of government subsidies as also manpower; but still clinical trials which were once thought to be a domain of larger academic institutions only, gradually these have percolated down to bigger private or corporate hospitals and then into the much smaller private clinics as well.

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Conducting clinical trials as an add on in routine practice is especially common in common in the fields of diabetes and metabolism, psychiatry, dermatology, and ophthalmology. However, dentistry is not witnessing this trend especially in our part of the world. The western world though seem to be very much in the beam of increasing the magnitude of research and innovations in the private practice set ups.

CANCEILL T et al. in their scoping review published in 2020 have revealed how precisely and meticulously dental practice based networks (D-PBNS) are functioning throughout the world. The review have listed top 24 D-PBNS majority from USA which have collaborated on multi centric studies that too in private clinics to bring out some break through innovations in the field.

Developing countries like ours, have its own challenges including resource limitations, medical compliances, lack of good policy makers, insufficient as well as inefficient sources for funding and so on in setting up such research centers and collaborations. But having said that, enthusiastic private practitioners can easily surpass all shortcomings and do even better than those who work in government or corporate hospitals. This is because:

  • Since they are usually present over their site, most of the time, they may have better supervision over entire activities.
  • They are easily available for other study-related activities such as during investigator meeting, site initiation, or monitoring. These are often ignored at most of the bigger centres.
  • Starting a clinical trial setup in a private practice can be a rewarding venture, bringing innovation and cutting-edge treatments to your community.

Following is a small guide of the steps to be followed for setting up a research trial lab in your clinic

Why should a private practitioner take so much of headache for doing research!

  1. Making your edge Sharp-

Putting your research work out there isn’t just about boosting your brand and making your professional resume look snazzier. It is also leveling up your knowledge game in our world. Research is the compass guiding them through the sea of medical knowledge. By embracing evidence-based practices, clinicians fortify their expertise, ensuring that every diagnosis and treatment plan is grounded in the latest scientific understanding. It’s like having a secret power that makes you stand out, no matter where you work!

  1. Featuring on the world stage-

As a matter of fact good clinical practice or a great patient handling skill can get clinicians their much desired identity in their field at max their state or sometimes their country that too limited to their speciality. However,when clinicians share their top-notch clinical data from their everyday practice in good indexed journals, it’s like putting their work on a global stage. It’s like going from a local hero to a global sensation! Most importantly in limited time.

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This is probably the reason that most of the renowned private chains have activated their research centers to enjoy the world class branding of developing innovations as well as for receiving funding and subsidies from many of the government, semi government, corporates and even international organizations.

So, are you ready to launch your research center and enjoy who knows even the foreign currency?

  1. Making your practice “Saturation/Future Proof”-

Healthcare is not static; it evolves. Engaging in research equips private clinicians with the foresight needed to adapt to the ever-changing landscape. By staying at the forefront of medical advancements, clinician’s future-proof their practice, offering patients solutions that transcend current standards. Also, having your name in the research area of the subject and publicizing it in the right way makes you stand out in the probably the handful people as your competitor’s. This is because as the world is evolving and getting digital, number of educated patients stepping into your clinics who have already google searched you and all others in the area will constantly go on increasing.

“So, a golden suggestion is along with your search engine optimization also make sure your research engine optimization is also done, to make sure you have a different and a classy robe than all others in your field!!!!”

In the end….

I once again want to say that the scientific community would get greatly benefited because data from clinics and hospitals are the results gained actually in real from the patient’s responses to the treatment procedures or drugs (Phase IV) and not from cell lines or animal tests.

As also, these papers would be made out of good discoveries and not out of compulsion and thereby I cannot resist myself from giving example of a dialogue from the famous movie “3 idiots” which says a lion is made to do things mandatorily in a circus and thereby is just called a trained lion and not an educated lion….. (Fig 4)

Let us all be vigilantly educated to perform and publish genuine research and not just remain well educated!!!!!

References

  1. Kalele K. Private clinics can become your valued research labs. J Oral Med, Oral Surg, Oral Pathol, Oral Radiol 2021;7(1):1-2.
  2. Agarwal PK. Clinical trials in private clinics. Perspect Clin Res 2011;2:90-3.
  3. Thibault CANCEILL, Paul MONSARRAT, Edouard –CLEMENT .Dental Practice-Based Research Networks (D-PBRN) worldwide: a scoping Review. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0300571220302700
  4. Person J P. How to Conduct Research in Your Private Practice 2023;30(2):195-207.

Author

  • Dr Ketki Kalele, a practicing oral oncopathologist at Dent-O-Path is a storyteller by heart. An associate professor at VYWD DC, Amravati, India, she is also the managing director at NIAR research institute.

Dr Ketki Kalele, a practicing oral oncopathologist at Dent-O-Path is a storyteller by heart. An associate professor at VYWD DC, Amravati, India, she is also the managing director at NIAR research institute.

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