Whether conducted at a laboratory bench or in clinical trials, medical research has long been driven by a single overriding goal — the need to find a cure. Usually referred to more modestly as a search for “the most effective treatment,” this standard has served as both a barometer of success and a major criterion for funding. Most published studies are marked by a preponderance of data documenting even minor blips in laboratory values or changes in the size of a spot of cancer or area of heart muscle damage on specialized X-rays. Some studies bolster the apparent success of their results with additional data on societal effects like treatment costs or numbers of workdays missed.
Few studies, however, focus on the patient experience.