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Assimilation into Science Base by Elizabeth Morales

Over the past 50 years, funding for biomedical research has increased dramatically, creating significant advances in clinical knowledge and technology. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has appropriated nearly $23.4 billion for 2002 (NIH, 2002). Investment on the part of pharmaceutical firms has risen from $13.5 billion to $24 billion between 1993 and 1999 (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, 2000). Investments include doubling the average number of new drugs approved yearly since the 1980s and exponential growth in clinical trials from about 500 a year in the 1970s to more than 10,000 a year today. Health professionals diagnose and treat patients, evaluate new tests and procedures, as well as develop clinical practice guidelines. Incompetent to keep up with the ever-expanding knowledge base on effective care. With the rapid expansion of knowledge, practitioners find it challenging to stay abreast of advances and gain active training. 

Options to keep up are paramedical functions in medicine, specialized staff, and technology to automate the search process for clinical trials and therapy options. Another strategy is creating standardized protocols based on clinical guidelines using decision-support algorithms. A problem is manual curation has scale, quality, and consistency challenges. To build effective and intelligent medical systems, the broader medical community needs to be connected as an information ecosystem, integrating patient data and knowledge from its doctors, researchers, nurses, pharmacists, and caregivers. For better patient care, an active collaboration among stakeholders and a change in the culture of medicine are needed. 


1. National Academies Press (US). “Challenges Facing the Health System and Implications for Educational Reform.” Health Professions Education: A Bridge to Quality - NCBI Bookshelf, 2003,

2. Chin, L. (2018, March 9). How Physicians Can Keep Up with the Knowledge Explosion in Medicine. Harvard Business Review. 

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