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clinical - definition of clinical

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Updated July 28, 2008

Definition: Clinical, when used in a medical context, refers to a direct relationship with a human patient. Doctors who work directly with patients are said to be in clinical practice. A nonclinical practice may be medical research or focused on medical theory and education.

Clinical trials are those studies that test drugs, treatments, therapies, devices or other approaches directly on patients.

The word clinical comes from the Greek word "kline," which means couch or bed. Clinical medicine is practiced at the bedside or with patients who are sick, injured or otherwise debilitated.

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