Much like your doctor, all of the information that is obtained during the research process is protected by HIPAA. We take all identifying information out (de-idenitifed), unless required by law.

A clinical trial is a research study conducted by doctors to determine the effectiveness of new treatments and/or drugs.

Each clinical trial has its own guidelines for participants. Some studies require specific age groups, gender, race, diseases/disorders, while others just require you to be a healthy volunteer.

Those who volunteer benefit from knowing they have helped to advance medical research into new treatments and often receive compensation for their time and effort. It is a possibility that the new drug or treatment being tested works better than ones currently offered to the public, as well.

However, doctors don’t always know the effects that these new treatments and/or drugs may have, so there may be side effects that are unpleasant and/or serious. The treatment for these side effects might not be covered by your health plan. The trial may go on longer than a regular treatment would, and may not work for you.

Before you decide to join a clinical trial, you must go through a process of “Informed Consent.” Informed Consent consists of showing you the papers that tell you about all of the benefits and risks of the trial, and protects your health while taking part in clinical research. After reading it, make sure to ask the study doctors about anything you do not understand. Some good questions to ask are:

Why is this trial being conducted?
How might this trial help?
What other treatments are available, besides the treatment that is being studied?
How long will this study take?
What will happen in this study?
What problems or side effects could happen?
Are there treatments for people who have side effects or problems? What are they? Who will pay for them?

After you’ve gone through Informed Consent, and have had a chance to ask your questions, it is up to you to decide whether or not you are going to participate in this clinical trial. Remember, it is your choice to be in the study and you can quit at any time.