At Kalispell Regional Healthcare, we are dedicated to examining new ways to prevent, treat and detect disease by offering clinical trials to our patients. Patient participation in clinical trials plays a vital role in the advancement of new medical therapies and technologies and contributes to evidence-based changes in how we detect and treat diseases.
What are clinical research trials?
Clinical trials examine new ways to prevent, treat and detect disease. This involves using new drugs or devices, or new indications for existing drugs or devices.
Every clinical trial has a protocol, or action plan, for conducting the trial. The plan describes how the study will be conducted and who can participate. This ensures quality and integrity at each site so that the data captured is the same at each research site.
Before agreeing to participate, ask questions so that you can understand and are comfortable with what happens during the study.
What are the benefits of participation?
Clinical trials offer high-quality care. If you are in a controlled study and do not receive the new treatment being tested, you will receive the current standard of care treatment. This may be as good as, or better than, the new approach.
If a new treatment is proven to work and you are taking it, you may be among the first to benefit.
You have the chance to help others advance medical research and improve treatments.
What are the risks of participation?
New treatments under study are not always better than, or even as good as, the current standard of care.
New treatments may have side effects that doctors do not expect or that are worse than those of the current standard of care treatment.
Even if a new treatment has benefits, it may not work for you. Even standard of care treatments, proven effective for many people, do not help everyone.
Studies may require your time commitment and periodic trips to the study site.
How are volunteers protected?
Participation in a clinical study is completely voluntary and you can withdraw from the study at any time.
Federal rules and regulations are in place to help protect your welfare.
Institutional review boards (IRBs) oversee all sites conducting clinical research. The IRB ensures trials are ethical and that your rights are being protected.
What are the costs of participating in a clinical trial?
Study sponsors may pay for study-specific costs.
Some study visits that are identified as usual standard of care and preapproved may be billed to your health insurance plan.
Frequently the sponsor of the clinical trial provides a stipend payment to cover your time and/or travel expenses.