July 6, 2015 | By Márcio Barra
All Portuguese hospitals will have to create a Research, Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health service until June 2016, and bigger hospitals will have to do so until the end of 2015, according to Order (extract) No 7216/2015, published on July 1st on the Diário da República website.
This requirement comes from the fact that the majority of hospitals and health centers in Portugal do not have oriented services to support these kinds of research activities, such as clinical trials, observational trials, and epidemiological studies . These new units are an attempt to fill this gap, and as such, the responsibilities of the Research, Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health services will include:
- Collaborate in the provision of hospital care and activities that promote general health in the population, including planning, monitoring and evaluation of health care and organization of health services
- Support and promote the participation of the hospital in which they are inserted in public health programs
- Support for epidemiological, clinical, public health and health care research activities, by providing research enterprises for health professionals, training in research methodology, promote good research practices, and providing human and logistical capacity for research activities
- Promote hospital collaboration in research projects led by third parties and participation in research networks
- Prepare hospitals for emergencies, such as epidemics, disasters or other threats to public health
- Support or ensure the planning, creation, development and management of hospital records, national health registries, and data relating to the literacy of health professionals regarding computer systems and statistics
- Propose, manage and collaborate on intervention programs for disease prevention and health protection
Moreover, a Research, Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health service will be able to include many different professional groups (physicians with experience in clinical research, nurses, and biostatisticians, among others. No mention of clinical research coordinators), which may, with the permission of the hospital board, accumulate functions with other services. The Diário de Notícias is reporting that physicians will be able to devote 75% of their time to research activities, and that there will be incentives for physicians who purse research, such as salaries increase or career progression.
Research, Clinical Epidemiology and Public Health services should must become operational by December 31, 2015, in Hospitals, Medical Centers or Local Health Units of Groups III and IV, according to Decree No. 82/2014 of April 10. These include:
- Centro Hospitalar e Universitário de Coimbra, EPE
- Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Central, EPE .
- Centro Hospitalar Lisboa Norte, EPE
- Centro Hospitalar de São João, EPE
- Centro Hospitalar Porto, EPE .
- Instituto Português de Oncologia de Coimbra, Francisco Gentil, EPE
- Instituto Português de Oncologia de Lisboa, Francisco Gentil, EPE
- Instituto Português de Oncologia do Porto, Francisco Gentil, EPE
- Centro de Medicina Física de Reabilitação do Sul
- Centro de Medicina de Reabilitação da Região Centro – Rovisco Pais
- Centro de Reabilitação do Norte
- Centro Hospitalar Psiquiátrico de Lisboa
- Hospital Magalhães de Lemos, EPE
All remaining Hospitals, Medical Centers or Local Health Units have until June 30, 2016 to implement this service.