Surveys show that about 15 percent of people have participated in some kind of clinical research trial. But why do they do it?

A news release from revealed that most people believe it is important that the general population participate in medical studies to improve the health of others. Clinical research is an important part of advancing the field of medicine, and many people understand that.

But if so many people see the great importance of clinical trials in medicine, than why don’t more people participate in these trials? The National Cancer Institute shares some reasons why this might be the case:

  • People don’t know about appropriate clinical trials: This includes many physicians, who could refer their clinical trialspatients to studies if they were to know about the trials in their area. Often the assumption is that no trials are available that will apply to their patients, but the fact is that there are dozens of clinical trials being conducted in Utah at any time.
  • Doctors don’t want to lose control of their patient’s care: Nobody knows the current condition of a patient better than the doctor’s patient. If the patient goes to participate in a study, the doctor may worry that coordination of care might not occur.
  • Many believe standard care is best: Doctors may be hesitant to refer patients to clinical trials because they fear that the care the patient will receive will not be as good as what they currently receive.

Other surveys show that many people simply don’t trust clinical research trials. This is partly due to lack of understanding. For example, more than a third of those surveyed in a recent poll thought that they could be enrolled in a clinical trial without being told, which is false.

The poll from Research!America also found that many people say they greatly admire those who participate in medical trials or clinical trials. In conclusion, people do see the value of clinical research trials, but may be hesitant to participate due to lack of understanding and lack of communication.