For patients and consumers
Metro North Hospital and Health Service provides care for hundreds of thousands of people living across Queensland. As Queensland’s largest Hospital and Health Service (HHS), Metro North is committed to continually improving patient care through research. This care is continually evolving, thanks to research happening locally and around the world.
In Metro North, the health care needs of our patients drive our research focus. This research will help us to find new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases and ill-health.
Research is defined as an original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge, understanding and insight. Within Metro North, research is an important part of the health care that we provide. It can provide information on the health care system, processes or services, to ultimately improve the quality of care we provide.
Research can also provide us with new information to improve the diagnosis or treatment of diseases or ill-health. Clinical research allows us to test new medications, devices, treatments or approaches to care to see if they are effective. Clinical research contributes to medical knowledge and the findings from a research study can change the way people are cared for in Metro North and across the world.
As a patient or a health care consumer in Metro North you may be asked to participate in research. For example, you might be approached to participate in a research study if you are admitted to a Metro North hospital, visit an outpatient clinic or attend a Metro North community health care service.
As a potential research participant and Metro North patient or health care consumer, you can be assured that:
- your rights, safety, dignity, well-being and confidentiality will always be respected
- you will receive full information about the research project, and be given the opportunity to ask questions
- your choice to participate is always voluntary and your choice to participate or not will not affect your care
- you can change your mind and withdraw from a research project at any stage
You may be approached to participate in research by one of your treating clinicians or another Metro North staff member. You may also be approached by a research student or directly by a researcher. If you are approached to participate in research, Metro North encourages you to feel comfortable to ask questions and seek further information about participation if you do not understand. The person approaching you will be able to demonstrate the research study is approved, and they are appropriately authorised to approach you to participate.
What does research participation involve?
A research participant is someone who has voluntarily decided to be involved in a research study. Because every research study is different, your level of involvement will depend on the research you are being asked to participate in. This will always be explained when you are invited to consider participating, and you can always ask questions to find out more information.
You might be asked to participate in research if you are admitted to a Metro North hospital, visit an outpatient clinic or a Metro North community service. This may sometimes involve giving a researcher permission to access specific information from your medical records, for example blood test results or treatment history. Sometimes researchers may ask to observe your routine medical care, or they may ask for your permission to collect samples such as new blood or urine or undertake diagnostic tests, for example an X-ray.
Participation in research might include answering a survey online, completing a paper-based questionnaire or form, or being involved in an interview over the phone or in person. It may sometimes involve attendance at follow-up sessions, or you may be requested to attend a facility or a service that is not operated by Metro North. For example, you might be asked to attend a clinical research facility at a University research centre. It is important to consider what research participation means to you, and how it fits in with your personal circumstances. For example, you will need to consider whether a research project that involves multiple follow-up visits over 12 months or a couple of years is something that you want to participate in.
By participating in research you will be taking a more active role in your own health care. You may gain increased insight into your condition, or health concerns, and may have an opportunity to better understand your management and treatment. In some cases you may have the opportunity to trial new treatments under development, new services and models of care, or participate in research designed to better understand your health care experiences.
It is also possible that you might not gain any direct or immediate benefit for yourself by participating in research. Your participation in research may help others, either now or in the future, by enabling the discovering of more effective models of health care, better treatments, and ultimately better management of health conditions.
Participation is not compulsory. Consent to participate in research is completely voluntary and you are free to withdraw from a research project at any time. If you no longer wish to participate in a research project, you can refuse to continue without it affecting your treatment or ongoing medical care. You can be sure that you will always continue to receive the best care we are able to offer you.
Questions about your clinical trial or research study?
If you are a participant in a clinical trial or research study, details of who to contact will be described in the participant information sheet, which is a document provided by a member of the research team as part of the consent process.
If you have any concerns or complaints about any aspect of a research project or the way it is being conducted then you should contact a Research Governance Officer or Human Research Ethics Committee Coordinator/Chairperson in Metro North Hospital and Health Service, who will initiate the appropriate follow-up and response.