Do we need research for good patient care?

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     Relevance of research in clinical practice is often debated. Many clinicians specially those in busy private practice consider that the time spent on research could be put to better use. When I began my training  in Neurosurgery, I was intrigued by the problems in management of one of the patients who had congenital vascular malformation. This triggered my interest to look further into the problem of Arterio-venous  malformations in the brain. This pursuit finally resulted in a PhD and multiple papers. I have to this day I have continued to study various facets of this problem. This has brought me in contact with Pathologists, Engineers and specialists in the field of Aeronautical Engineering. The result of this long association has produced a book on the subject.

      In my opinion research is an integral part of good clinical practice. It provides an opportunity for the clinician to assess the outcomes of his practice and modify the methods if the study suggests such a need. Pure laboratory research may not seem to be relevant to medical practice. The technique of 3D printing which started as a project in metallurgy has now become an integral part of medicine similar to robotics. In the present day context funding for pure research is discouraged due to financial problems. This is unfortunate. A proper balance between pure and applied research is necessary if we are committed to safe patient care.

Written by: Dr. Vidyasagar Casikar, Department of Vascular Research, University of Sydney, Australia

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