Clinical studies are important in creating new standards of care and advancing treatments.
However, in the area of oral and maxillofacial surgery, conducting clinical trials is challenging because a majority of graduates from residency programs go directly into practices, many of which are not affiliated with academic medical centers.
"There are close to 10,000 oral and maxillofacial surgery practitioners in the U.S.,” says Deepak Krishnan, DDS, associate professor in the department of surgery. "We needed to find a way to tap into the patient population within these practices to conduct meaningful clinically based studies and provide valuable data to support the specialty, advocate for the procedures that we perform and improve outcomes for our patients.”
This led to the formation of the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons Practice-Based Research Network (PBRN), which allows practices across the country to enroll patients in clinical studies and share data that will potentially improve patient care. The network was first developed in April and is continuing to grow and gain new participants.
UC was one of the very first members of the network, and now, Krishnan has taken on the role as co-principal investigator of the network’s first study.
"This is a pilot study involving 100 practitioners nationally who will enroll 25 patients each,” he says. "We want to determine the clinical outcomes of the currently varying practices in antibiotic management of patients undergoing wisdom teeth extraction. This will be done through data collection and analysis.”
Krishnan continues that results of this study will help surgeons determine the outcomes of the various antibiotic therapies used for patients and identify which therapies are most successful in sub-groups of those patients.
"The best part is that it doesn’t require physicians to deviate from their standard practice; however, additional patient follow-up approximately one week and 60 days post extraction is required. These follow-up visits may be conducted over the phone,” he says. "The cost is minimal, but the data is invaluable.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to gain research data in an area that isn’t traditionally research focused, and I’m very pleased that UC was able to be one of the network’s founding members. We hope to be involved a number of clinical studies that will help enhance the field and the care of our patients.”