Well over 100,000 clinical trials are conducted each year in the United States, and each of those studies contributes to a better understanding of medical conditions and treatments. Of course, clinical trials couldn’t take place if not for the patients who participate.
At Phoenix Heart, our research team has been actively involved in clinical trials for 30 years, providing our patients with a chance to participate as well. Taking part in a clinical trial means you can play an important role in improving cardiovascular care for countless other people in the future. But there are several other benefits, too.
ABCs of clinical research
Clinical studies or trials are conducted to determine the safety and efficacy of new medications, devices, or therapies. Before trials are open to patients, researchers have already conducted extensive studies into these products, and rigorous safety guidelines need to be met and maintained in order for a trial to proceed.
Trials are conducted in four phases. A drug, device, or therapy must “pass” one phase in order to advance to the next. Each phase includes more and more patients or volunteers.
At the end of the third phase, the drug or device enters the general marketplace. In the fourth phase, additional tests and studies are conducted to gather data once the product or therapy is in wider use.
During each phase, researchers perform in-depth evaluations of each study participant, monitoring them very closely to determine how well the new product or therapy performs and to look for any possible side effects.
Many studies include multiple “arms” or groups of patients, based on the characteristics of the patients, as well as measuring the new treatment against a standard of care or a placebo.
Benefits for patient participants
Medical advances depend on clinical trials in order to develop and bring new therapies to market. For study participants, playing an active and positive role in medical history is certainly one benefit of taking part. Many trials introduce innovative therapies or medications that can shape the future of medicine and improve the lives of many men and women down the road. But there are other, more tangible benefits as well.
Access to cutting-edge treatments
Clinical trials evaluate drugs, devices, or therapies not yet available to the general public (or in their early days of availability). As a study participant, you have the chance to potentially benefit from an innovative treatment that otherwise would not be available to you.
Greater access to expert care
Clinical trials involve patients and medical providers from across the country and sometimes around the globe. As part of that community, you’ll have ongoing access to expert medical knowledge and care, as well as greater day-to-day access to your personal doctors. You’ll likely have additional office visits and tests to monitor your health, and by giving ongoing feedback, you can play a more proactive and involved role, as well.
Satisfaction in helping others
As noted, one of the biggest benefits for many patient volunteers is the knowledge that they’re helping to shape the future of medicine. Every study participant contributes in their own way to the greater body of medical knowledge, providing real-life feedback that has the potential to help other people facing the same medical issues. Many patients find great personal satisfaction in being involved in something “bigger than themselves.”
Budget-friendly (often free!) treatment
While finances should never be your sole reason for participating in a trial, it’s still important to understand the potential benefit to your budget. Most clinical trials pay for your appointments and treatment during the trial. Depending on the trial, you may also receive compensation for your time and travel to and from your appointments.
Learn more about clinical trial opportunities
As an active participant in clinical trials that shape future medical care, Phoenix Heart actively recruits eligible patient volunteers at our offices in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, and Canyon City, Arizona. If you’d like to learn more about clinical trials and whether you’re eligible or qualified to volunteer, call us or book an appointment online today.