There are literally thousands of FDA-approved drugs and medical devices available in the United States, and more are approved every year. To get that approval, every drug and device is subjected to rigorous testing during a multi-step clinical testing process that relies on people just like you.
The testing process involves multiple clinical trials, where drugs, devices, or other medical treatments (like diet or lifestyle changes) are utilized by specific groups of patients and then closely studied to determine how well they work. This process is an essential and necessary part of advancing medical treatment, and without clinical trial volunteers, clinical trials — and medical advancement — would grind to a halt.
Many people mistakenly believe clinical trials are conducted at universities or a very small number of medical practices in certain parts of the country. But most trials depend on a diverse group of patients from different populations, which means they’re actually available in many locations and to many patients.
Phoenix Heart, PLLC, routinely plays a role in clinical research, actively participating in trials that help heart patients in Glendale, Goodyear, Anthem, and Canyon City, Arizona, gain access to cutting-edge care not available to the general public. Here’s how you could play a role in a current or upcoming trial, doing your part to help advance the science of medicine.
The important role of clinical trial volunteers
People volunteer for clinical trials for different reasons, but all share one characteristic: a selfless desire to support medical research and assist the medical community in finding new and better ways to help others.
Clinical trials seek both healthy volunteers and volunteers who have already been diagnosed with a disease or illness. While both groups play pivotal roles in medical advancement, patients who are diagnosed with a medical condition can also benefit by gaining access to novel treatments that aren’t otherwise available, along with additional medical care during the trial.
Clinical trials are conducted in phases, with each phase including a larger group of patients. Trials don’t stop once a drug or device goes to market. A post-market phase conducts additional monitoring of the drug or device to help researchers “fine tune” its use.
What to know about volunteering
If you’re interested in volunteering for an ongoing study, you’ll meet with our team for a medical evaluation to see if you’re eligible to participate. If you are, our team will go over the specifics of the study, a process known as informed consent.
It’s important to understand that informed consent is not a binding contract — you’re still free to leave the trial at any time. It’s simply a way of making sure you completely understand the trial, its goals, and your role prior to taking part in the study.
Throughout your participation, you’ll be closely monitored and have frequent medical assessments to evaluate the effects of the treatment and, of course, make sure you stay healthy. Most trials cover the costs of your appointments and treatment, and some studies offer additional compensation, as well.
Because clinical trials involve new or novel drugs, devices, or methods, there are certain risks you should know about. In any trial, patient safety is paramount, but asking lots of questions up front provides a good dose of peace of mind. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) offers lots of information about the clinical trial process — including some suggestions of questions to ask — on its website.
Learn more about clinical trials
As an active participant in clinical research, Phoenix Heart, PLLC, routinely recruits volunteers to take part. If you’re interested in learning more about clinical trials and how you can get involved, book an appointment online or over the phone with our team today.