An international survey of physicians regarding clinical trials: a comparison between Kyoto University Hospital and Seoul National University Hospital

Toshiko Ito-Ihara, Jeong-Hwa Hong, Ock-Joo Kim, Eriko Sumi, Soo-Youn Kim, Shiro Tanaka, Keiichi Narita, Taichi Hatta, Eun-Kyung Choi, Kyu-Jin Choi, Takuya Miyagawa, Manabu Minami, Toshinori Murayama, Masayuki Yokode
BMC Medical Research Methodology 2013, 13: 130

BACKGROUND: International clinical trials are now rapidly expanding into Asia. However, the proportion of global trials is higher in South Korea compared to Japan despite implementation of similar governmental support in both countries. The difference in clinical trial environment might influence the respective physicians' attitudes and experience towards clinical trials. Therefore, we designed a questionnaire to explore how physicians conceive the issues surrounding clinical trials in both countries.

METHODS: A questionnaire survey was conducted at Kyoto University Hospital (KUHP) and Seoul National University Hospital (SNUH) in 2008. The questionnaire consisted of 15 questions and 2 open-ended questions on broad key issues relating to clinical trials.

RESULTS: The number of responders was 301 at KUHP and 398 at SNUH. Doctors with trial experience were 196 at KUHP and 150 at SNUH. Among them, 12% (24/196) at KUHP and 41% (61/150) at SUNH had global trial experience. Most respondents at both institutions viewed clinical trials favorably and thought that conducting clinical trials contributed to medical advances, which would ultimately lead to new and better treatments. The main reason raised as a hindrance to conducting clinical trials was the lack of personnel support and time. Doctors at both university hospitals thought that more clinical research coordinators were required to conduct clinical trials more efficiently. KUHP doctors were driven mainly by pure academic interest or for their desire to find new treatments, while obtaining credits for board certification and co-authorship on manuscripts also served as motivation factors for doctors at SNUH.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results revealed that there might be two different approaches to increase clinical trial activity. One is a social level approach to establish clinical trial infrastructure providing sufficient clinical research professionals. The other is an individual level approach that would provide incentives to encourage doctors to participate in and conduct clinical trials.

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