Forum for Women & Whānau
What are clinical trials?Clinical trials are research studies involving people who use healthcare services, which compare a new or different type of treatment, or new method of care, with the best treatment or care currently available. They test whether the new or different treatment is safe, effective and any better than what already exists. No matter how promising a new treatment may appear during tests in a laboratory or in a small study, it must go through clinical trials before its benefits and risks can really be known. Clinical trials that take place in New Zealand for mothers and babies have all been approved on the basis that they are safe. Any care provided in a clinical trial will be at least as good as standard care.
Why are clinical trials important for mothers and babies?Clinical trials recruiting pregnant women and babies are important as they facilitate continual improvements in the care provided to mothers and babies. Clinical trials provide evidence to inform us of the best care that should be provided. The more clinical trials available for New Zealand mothers and babies, the better and more consistent care that midwives, nurses and doctors can provide to New Zealand mothers and babies.
- Often, the treatment being tested is not available any other way than as part of a clinical trial. So, clinical trials provide more choice of care.
- Being part of a clinical trial can be highly rewarding and having the support of a clinical trials team who are guiding you and observing your participation can be a great motivation.
- Clinical trials require comprehensive care. Although current care is of a high standard, researchers looking after you in a clinical trial are particularly attentive!
- There is evidence that those who participate in clinical trials have better general outcomes than those who don’t participate.
Hospitals running clinical trials develop their infrastructure and resources, as well as investing in staff development. Research-active hospitals can attract and retain high-performing clinicians and scientists who are actively involved in creating a continuously improving healthcare system - providing better care to their patients.
Research-active hospitals gain access to new therapies and techniques to provide consistent, best-practice care. For example, hospitals involved in the HYPITAT trial in the Netherlands provided improved care for pregnant women with better maternal health outcomes compared with hospitals that did not participate in the trial. By investing in clinical trials research, hospitals and healthcare providers are actively involved in generating and implementing high-quality evidence-based care in order to improve health outcomes for women and babies.
Clinical trials can make considerable savings to our healthcare system. For every $1 spent on a good quality clinical trial there will be a return on economic benefit for society. An Australian report looking into this identified a return of AU$5.80 for every $1 invested in clinical trials research.
You might be thinking how is this the case, don’t clinical trials cost money? Well, yes, they do but clinical trials inform us of best clinical care and improve health outcomes. When our learnings from a clinical trial are implemented into practice, health care becomes better and more efficient. Better health outcomes for patients and more efficient clinical care lead to savings in health service costs. By investing in and supporting good-quality clinical trials research in New Zealand, New Zealand mothers and babies will benefit from improved health outcomes and contribute to making healthcare more cost effective.
Clinical trials investigating the best treatments for mothers and babies are really valuable to New Zealand as a nation. As a nation of innovators, New Zealanders researching better health for mothers and babies make a significant contribution to clinical trials research around the world. New Zealanders collaborate with researchers around the globe, all with a shared mission to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies. Consequently, New Zealanders have improved access to up-to-date high-quality evidence-based healthcare and therapies.
Clinical trials research provides opportunities for New Zealand to develop a collaborative community of health researchers, healthcare consumers and clinicians who share experience, resources and infrastructure to continuously improve our healthcare system. By partnering with others around the world, clinical trials research in New Zealand can maximise potential health gains for women and babies in Aotearoa.