My first lesson about compounding numbers began as a young child. My mom taught me the lesson of the penny. She asked if I would rather have a million dollars or a penny doubled everyday for 30 days? When first posed the question, I thought my Mom was out of her mind…of course, I would take the $1,000,000. BUT, then I took out a pencil and paper and started to do the math. Here’s what the doubling of one looks like:
Even more powerful, rather than a penny, what if we substitute that with one patient participant doubled every day for a month? Last year, it was estimated only 2 million people participated in clinical trials world-wide. What if we took those people who are currently enrolled in clinical trials and doubled enrollment each day because each patient participant and each care partner shared the story of clinical research as a care option? The magnitude of that impact would be a seismic shift.
The more voices the better.
Grass roots clinical research awareness events can spur the message “By the People, For the People”—Clinical Research is an Equal Opportunity Option. Presenting clinical research to the public as a healthcare option has the ability to offload the work that is demanded by health care providers, thus equalizing the health and patient ecosystem.
The law of supply and demand.
If health care consumers become more inquisitive of their health care provider to offer research participation as a part of their menu of care options, clinical research will become more relevant and motivations for health systems to support clinical research physician investigators will drive more awareness and participation. As healthcare consumers become more informed and empowered, healthcare providers must also become more responsive in responding to the voice and choice of the patient.
I was able to experience this first hand with the Hero’s Journey Art sculpture unveiling in Winston-Salem, N.C. in November 2017. During this event, we were able to bring the community together at the intersection of art and clinical research. This project and event not only sparked conversations within our community, but impacted the research community and how we should be striving to create awareness in new, innovate ways around research and health.