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Resources :: Guide :: Vulnerable and risk sensitive participants :: Vulnerable participants :: Potential for coerced consent :: Doctor/ Patient relationships in research

Doctor/Patient (or Client) Relationships in Research

Doctors maintain a special position with their patients.  Unlike most professions, a doctor’s opinion can affect life or death decisions; thus a doctor is often viewed at a different level of authority. In an effort to find solutions to their patients’ problems, doctors often take on the researcher role. As a result, it is important to clearly separate the line between standard care and procedures conducted for research. If a doctor asks a patient to participate in a research study, even if it is clearly explained that the procedures in the study are experimental and may not offer any personal benefit, a patient may still perceive that the doctor is recommending participating in the study as part of their care.  This section covers some of the common concerns that occur when a doctor wants to include a patient or client in a research study and some suggestions as to how conflicts can be avoided.

Please note: The IRB-SBS generally does not review studies that involve most medical doctors and patients except where the research method is clearly in the social and behavioral sciences (for example, an anonymous survey that isn't connect to private health information). Most of these studies are reviewed by the IRB-HSR.  To determine which IRB should review your study, please see Choosing the Right IRB: SBS vs. HSR. If you have further questions, please contact our office before submitting a protocol; the submission process is different for both IRBs and submissions are non-transferable.

Section Topics

Recruitment and Consent
Medical Records and HIPAA

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