ICBioethics Blog 

New Framework to Inform Participants with Health-Related Findings

Written by: Leah Jeunnette, Ph.D.(c)

Have you ever participated in a research study? Those who have should remember filling out the informed consent document. This document informs the participant of the study, risks, benefits, compensation, and other important facts about the study. The person signs the document if they choose to participate. Today, there are so many on-going studies and one major recurring issue is informing participants of findings that have potential health implications. For instance, in some studies, running a routine test may reveal potential health risks that are in no way connected to the on-going study.

The Wellcome Trust and Medical Research Council recently published a framework to work through the issue of health-related findings. The intention of the framework is for researchers to work through prior to starting a research study. This way decisions are made before these findings are discovered.
Take a look at the new guidance here

Only time will tell, if this framework is successful in what it is seeking to do. My follow-up question to any researcher would be what systems of support can further aid these participants if there are health-related findings. One may understand the importance of reporting these health-related findings. However, it can be troubling for a participant to suddenly learn of these findings regarding their health. Providing referrals and further support is critical to demonstrating compassion and care to participants.

Mitch GennusoComment