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Research, Technology & Education

Research: Science in the Making

Clinical trials are scientific research studies designed to find better ways to treat or prevent diseases.  By conducting a clinical trial, researchers can study vaccines, new therapies or new approaches to surgery. Carefully conducted clinical trials are the fastest and safest way to find treatments that work in people. WakeMed is a long-time participant in clinical trials for various medications and procedures.   

The process for implementing a clinical trial is a long, labor-intensive process.  In its infancy stage, a researcher comes up with the idea for a clinical trial.  After the new therapy or procedure is tested in a laboratory, and then in animal studies, the researcher determines whether the treatment has promising laboratory results.  If so, that treatment is moved into clinical trials.  The whole purpose of the trial is to gather in-depth information about the treatment, including its risks and how well it may or may not work.   

WakeMed's has an Institutional Review Board (IRB), a group formally designated to review research taking place within our hospital walls.  The IRB is committed to protecting the rights and welfare of the human subjects involved in clinical trials and research studies at WakeMed.    Numerous private physician practices conduct scientific research studies at WakeMed, and there have been many hospital-initiated studies as well.  

Regardless of whether the study is a local, national or international clinical trial, the ultimate goal is to find ways to make people healthier and to improve their quality of life.  The following are just a few of the areas of care in which clinical trials have been conducted:

  • Trauma-related services
  • Nursing
  • Cardiac care
  • Orthopaedics
  • Neonatology
  • Pediatrics
  • Cancer
  • Rehabilitation

For more extensive information on clinical trials at WakeMed and the IRB,  click here.

Technology: It's Cutting Edge

Since the very beginning, WakeMed has set itself apart by bringing the most advanced technology to patient care. Today, WakeMed continues to pioneer and lead the way with:

  • The use of three-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging scanners (MRIs).
  • The use of the da Vinci robot for prostate and heart surgery 
  • A new Patient Simulation Lab (SIM Lab), one of only two in North Carolina, for training health professionals with patient simulators under realistic scenarios
  • The implementation of Electronic Patient Records (EPRs) throughout the organization, resulting in fully electronic patient records that improve the quality, speed and flow of information among all caregivers, departments and facilities
  • The use of 64-slice CT scans for the diagnosis of heart disease
  • A state-of-the-art neuro-endovascular suite allowing for aneurysm coiling and other advanced neurological procedures
  • The use of the SaeboFlex Splint, a revolutionary new tool that helps stroke victims regain the use of their hands.  

Education: Learning for the Future

WakeMed Health & Hospitals is home to the Wake Area Health Education Center (AHEC), one of nine such centers throughout the state of North Carolina. Wake AHEC provides continuing education to health and human services providers across a nine-county region and welcomes all health care professionals to participate in its educational programs and activities.  For information on class offerings and upcoming learning opportunities,  click here.

WakeMed has residency-teaching programs in the following specialties:

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Orthopeadics
  • Otolaryngology
  • Pediatrics
  • Surgery
  • Urology


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