Patients and Families
Are you considering being part of a research study?
Spectrum Health is dedicated to assuring the rights and welfare of all our research participants’ is respected and protected. These resources will tell you what to expect when taking part in research, what information can inform your choice to join a study and who to contact if you need more information.
What is “research”?
The medications, vaccines and therapies that we rely on today are all made possible because of years of careful research and volunteer participation. Research is a systematic gathering of information from volunteers to answer a specific question.
There are many types of research questions. Some are designed to find better ways of treating diseases, while others may concentrate on disease prevention, improving diagnosis or improving the quality of life for people with chronic illnesses.
Types of research studies:
- Clinical Trials: A clinical trial is designed to learn if new treatments are safe and effective. These trials might test new drugs, devices, procedures or ways to use existing treatments. Researchers conduct clinical trials before any new treatment can be used by a doctor.
- Observational Studies: In an observational study, researchers do not change your medical treatment. The researcher will only observe and collect information from you by interviews, surveys or from a medical chart.
Getting Involved in Research
Researchers need the help of volunteers to answer important medical questions.
There are many reasons to participate in research, including contributing to the advancement of health care. Before participating in a research study, you should evaluate all options to help make an informed decision. Use this website as a guide.
There are many ways to get involved with research at Spectrum Health:
- Find an open research study: Check out the available research studies at Spectrum Health or click here to search for research studies available internationally.
- Support research efforts at Spectrum Health: If you are interested in contributing to research, the Spectrum Health Foundation can help direct your donations to a cause close to your heart. For more information, email email@example.com or call 616.391.2000.
- Share your personal research story: Have you or a loved one been impacted by clinical research? Share your story with the Spectrum Health and West Michigan community.
- All of Us: We're calling on one million people across America to join researchers and advance how we prevent and treat diseases for generations to come. Join today!
The Informed Consent Process
During the Study
When taking part in a research study, you have several rights as a participant:
- You have the right to ask questions about the research study at any time.
- You have the right to decide not to participate in the research without penalty or loss of benefits.
- You have the right to make a choice that is free from coercion, undue influence or pressure.
- You have the right to leave the study at any time, for any reason.
- You have the right to get a copy of the consent form.
- You have the right to know what other options are available to you and your family.
- You do not waive any of your legal rights by joining a research study or signing a consent form.
The Institutional Review Board
- Why is the research being done?
- What procedures, therapies or tests will I have as part of the research?
- What will my responsibilities be if I participate?
- Will the research help me personally?
- What are the possible risks or side effects?
- What other options do I have?
- How long will the study last?
- Will any costs of the research be billed to me or my insurance?
- National Cancer Institute: Clinical Trials Information
- ClinicalTrials.gov: About Clinical Studies
- FDA - Clinical Trials: What Patients Need to Know
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) - Clinical Research Trials and You
- Office of Human Research Protections: About Research Participation