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Dr. Barbara Burtness on the Psychology of Talking to Patients About Enrolling in Clinical Trials

Barbara Burtness, MD
Published Online:3:31 PM, Tue December 8, 2015


Barbara Burtness, MD, professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology), Clinical Research Program Leader, Head and Neck Cancers Program, co-director, Developmental Therapeutics Research Program, Yale Cancer Center, discusses the psychology of talking to patients about being involved in a clinical trial.


Burtness says on average, medical professionals should take about 4 minutes or longer to properly explain the clinical trial to their patients, as well as leave ample time for questions at the end of the conversation. She adds that patients should understand what the differences are between conventional therapies and investigational therapies are.


Burtness says in her experience, patients who do not know anyone that took part in clinical trials in the past are more likely to be fearful of the trial than those who did know someone, or are related to someone.

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