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Experts propose overhaul of ethics oversight of research
Date:1/23/2013

The longstanding ethical framework for protecting human volunteers in medical research needs to be replaced because it is outdated and can impede efforts to improve health care quality, assert leaders in bioethics, medicine, and health policy in two companion articles in a Hastings Center Report special report, "Ethical Oversight of Learning Health Care Systems." One of the authors calling for a new approach is the main architect of the current ethical framework.

Seven commentaries in the publication, written by leaders with national responsibility for ethical oversight of medical research and efforts to improve health care quality, find areas of agreement and offer critiques.

In an accompanying editorial, co-guest editors Mildred Z. Solomon, President of The Hastings Center and Ann C. Bonham, Chief Scientific Officer at the American Association of Medical Colleges, wrote that by inviting these commentaries, they aimed to "provoke a national conversation." According to Solomon, "The challenge is to design oversight that adequately protects patients without impeding the kinds of data collection activities we need to improve health care quality, reduce disparities, and bring down our rate of medical errors." (See video of Dr. Solomon on the importance of this debate.)

For nearly four decades, protection of human participants in medical research has been based on the premise that there is a clear line between medical research and medical treatment. But, the two feature articles argue, that distinction has become blurred now that health care systems across the country are beginning to collect data from patients
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Contact: Susan Gilbert
gilberts@thehastingscenter.org
845-424-4040 x244
The Hastings Center
Source:Eurekalert

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