Research Paper on Health Care Finds Women Underrepresented in Heart Studies

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in today’s world, they remain underrepresented in research efforts into this health problem. From 2010-2017, women accounted for less than 40% of the people enrolled in clinical trials focusing on cardiovascular health.

With one woman dying every 80 seconds globally from heart disease, one-third of women will experience this issue in their lifetime.

Lijing Yan evaluated a total of 740 completed cardiovascular clinical trials from Duke Kunshan University. A total of almost 863,000 adults between the ages of 25 to 89 were reviewed for this effort, with the average age of a participant being 61.

Only 38% of the participants were women.

Why Are Women Underrepresented in Heart Studies?

Researchers found that women make up 49% of the population across all studies. When looking at cardiovascular needs, women are 51% of the patients, but then less than 40% of the participants in clinical trials. 

The 1993 National Institutes of Health Revitalization Act states that women and minorities must be included in government-funded clinical research. This law recognizes that gender bias in the United States exists in its research. What this legislative effort didn’t provide are real-world benchmarks to use for participation.

Doctors and scientists historically used thin, white men to represent most patients in medical research efforts. If you went through medical school in the 1980s, then the profiles you looked at involved men instead of women.

It is an approach that could be costing many women their lives.

Heart Disease Symptoms in Women Are Different

Every research paper on health care finds that women have different physical symptoms than men when suffering a cardiac event.

For women, having a heart attack can feel a lot like indigestion instead of having a sharp pain in the chest. That’s one of the reasons why women are less likely to survive when they experience a cardiovascular episode – especially when being treated by a male doctor.

Women have also had unforeseen complications to specific drugs developed for treating heart conditions because of their underrepresentation. 80% of the pharmaceuticals that the FDA withdrew its approval for from 1997 to 2000 had harmful side effects for women.
What is going to change this problem? Researchers must address the barriers that discourage women from participating in clinical trials. Providers must take their symptoms as seriously as they do for men. Since many women are also caregivers, extra time, and transportation assistance may be necessary. This is hardly the first time that research has come under fire. These things need to change if we are to make gains across all areas of health.

How Research Monitoring Improves Reporting Accuracy

The goal of a report is to convey collected information in a manner that is efficient and effective. This principle remains valid for the government, research studies, and businesses all over the world. When we have systems that can monitor the performance of our programs, then the data we collect can help us to improve critical outcomes.

Each research monitoring process follows four specific steps to achieve improvements in reporting accuracy.

  1. Identify the appropriate benchmarks, measures, or objectives that require tracking.
  2. Analyze and report on the targeted performance data.
  3. Create new opportunities to make better use of the information by applying the data to specific problematic areas.
  4. Combine and coordinate research monitoring with additional evidence-based efforts.

Why Do We Use Research Monitoring?

Brands like Nordic Naturals, Klaire Labs, and Trace Minerals Research use research monitoring as a way to identify problems early. These systems work to track the performance of critical programs through short- and long-term outcomes predetermined at the beginning of the process.

This advantage is particularly useful when detecting areas that fall below accepted performance standards for the industry.

Research monitoring can also help to establish specific targets to chart expected performance. Then historical data gets compared to the current information to see where the one metric stands against another. This process helps to find places where growth occurs, or if there is a weakness that needs some reinforcement.

It Informs Organizations About Improvement Strategies

When we have access to information about underperforming programs, then it becomes possible to have more profound discussions about the adverse trends that happen. This process lets an organization look for methods of improvement so that potential solutions can develop organically.

Then an organization can target resources to areas of need. The performance data can inform resource allocations and funding requirements. Large companies can use this information to identify demographics, neighborhoods, and individuals who may have an interest in the company’s message.

As this process moves along, companies can track their progress on whatever strategic planning efforts they set for themselves. Organizations use this step to identify priorities, establish a vision, and to set the mission statement to achieve their common goals.

Research monitoring creates a transparent mechanism where every stakeholder can see what is going on and be held accountable for the goals set goals. This process leads to better outcomes, higher profits, and better decisions as time passes.