What To Expect
Every clinical trial involves a health-care team that includes doctors, nurses, social workers, research coordinators and other health professionals who will follow your progress very closely. These physicians are extremely knowledgeable and have pioneered some of the treatment methods now routinely used at Swedish and at medical centers across the country.
Participating in a clinical trial may be as simple as taking a certain medication in a pill form for a certain amount of time. Or it may involve trying a new combination of medications and therapies.
Benefits, risks and drawbacks associated with research studies
By participating in a research study, you can:
- Take an active role in your own health care
- Gain access to potential new treatments that are not yet available to the public
- Help others by contributing to medical research
Participation in a research study can be inconvenient:
- The study may require a significant amount of your time for trips to the study site, treatments, hospital stays or complex dosage requirements.
- You may have more tests and doctor visits than you would if you were not taking part in a study.
- You will follow a specific plan as directed by the protocol and may also be asked to keep a log or fill out additional forms.
Clinical trials can have risks:
- There may be side effects or adverse reactions to medications or treatments
- The treatment may not be effective for you
Cost of Clinical Trials
Clinical trials are typically sponsored by pharmaceutical companies or the federal government. These sponsors pay for the cost of the experimental aspects of your treatment, as well as “extra-care costs” such as additional tests required as part of clinical-trial participation.
“Usual-care costs,” such as doctor visits, hospital stays, clinical laboratory tests, X-rays, etc., are often covered by private insurance or Medicare. Medicare recently expanded its coverage of treatment trials that meet specific guidelines. Before taking part in a clinical trial, ask your doctor and research team about the costs involved, and have them communicate directly with your insurance company.