Biomedical and clinical research is vital to advancing health care with an ultimate goal of improving the quality of life for citizens of the United States and the world.
This website page is designed to introduce you to the opportunity of participating in a clinical study or research trial. Whether you or someone you know is thinking about becoming a volunteer, or whether you are just curious about clinical research trials in general, we hope that after reading the following information you have a better understanding of the importance of human participation in medical research studies.
The process of learning the benefits, understanding the risks and deciding to participate is known as “informed consent” and is required before a patient participates in a study.
When considering whether to participate in a research study, an individual must have an understanding of the research or clinical study before he or she can give his or her consent to become involved. Each person should have a general understanding of why the research is being conducted and how he or she was identified as a potential participant. As discussed above, each person must understand the risks that may be involved, as well as the potential benefits.
Treatments other than those available through the research study should also be discussed. It is essential that each study participant remember that he or she retains the right to withdraw from the study at any time for any or no reason at all. If you, as a study participant, have trouble understanding any of the information, please ask the Clinical Research Staff member or your doctor and he or she will ensure that the information is provided in a way that is easy for you to understand.
For each study involving humans, an independent committee must first review the study in detail and grant approval for enrolling patients. If you have been asked to participate in a research study, it may be for one of many reasons, such as age, primary medical complaint, medical history, underlying medical condition, or a combination of one or more of these factors. In some cases, a study is approved for a specific type of illness, while in other studies, relatively healthy persons are needed.
Risks and Benefits
The pursuit of new knowledge in the field of medical research often requires experimental studies that involve human subjects. While patient participation is an essential element of medical research, the protection of our patients comes before our quest for new knowledge. Mercy rigorously complies with the highest bioethical regulations and guidelines to minimize risks and maintain the rights and welfare of its patient participants.
In most cases, the benefits of clinical trials range from serving as a member of a control group receiving conventional therapy to having the opportunity to receive a new treatment that may have an improved result over traditional therapies. In each case, it is important that you discuss the details of the study with your doctor before making a decision on whether to participate.
In some instances, the only benefit may be advancing medical knowledge and contributing to society as a whole. Like any other medical treatment, it is important that you understand the risks associated with your participation in research study and balance them with the possible benefits.
We appreciate your willingness to consider participating in a clinical research program. Please remember:
- Always answer questions completely and honestly.
- Never hesitate to ask questions or admit that something doesn’t make sense to you.
- As a study participant, follow all of the study instructions and requirements.
- Notify your Clinical Research Staff member, your physician or the contact person listed on the informed consent if you choose to withdraw from a clinical study.
Need More Information?
If you have other questions, please contact:
- Coordinator for the Mercy Institutional Review Board at
- Mercy Office of Risk Management at (515) 247-3296
- Privacy Officer of Mercy Medical Center at (515) 643-4557