Contacting study participants

July 9, 2004

If I decide to participate in a research study using my patients, how can I contact them to determine their interest in the project?

Q:If I decide to participate in a research study using my patients, how can I contact them to determine their interest in the project?

A: Under HIPAA, you or your employee may contact patients to ask whether they're interested in participating in a research study. But if you decide to have someone else—like an independent researcher—contact your patients, HIPAA requirements must be met.

Before someone other than you or a member of your staff contacts a patient, you must enter into a business associate contract with this person, obtain prior patient authorization, or ask an Institutional Review Board to waive the normal patient-authorization requirement. (An IRB is the group or committee within an institution—a hospital, for example—that's responsible for reviewing research projects involving human subjects.)