Screening & Recruitment in Health Research

Privacy Principles Related to Approach/Screening Activities in AHS Operational Areas

* The privacy principles outlined below are also applicable to other clinical settings. 

When recruiting patients to a Research Ethics Board (REB) approved clinical health study:

  • AHS will work to provide restricted access to the least amount of identifiable health information under REB approved conditions to enable research related activities where a waiver of patient consent was granted for the study.
  • Contingent upon the operational approval conditions, members of the research team (whether an AHS employee or not) may approach a potential participant directly if no health information has been accessed prior to the initial contact.A poster or brochure in these areas may be used to provide awareness to patients who may be approached.
  • Members of the research team (as an AHS employee or not, who is not acting in the role of primary caregiver or member of the assigned care team) may not initiate contact with a potential participant when they have previously accessed health information of that patient (i.e., as part of the pre-screening process).For the comfort of the potential participants in AHS operational areas, an AHS employee or care provider should be the first point of contact with that patient to obtain permission for researchers to approach.

Approaching Patients for Study-specific Consent to Participate

  • At admission, an AHS staff member who is not part of the research team could be the first point of contact with the potential participant to promote the comfort and trust between the patients, caregiver and researchers.They may provide a brochure, direct attention to a poster or state something similar to the following upon check-in, “This is a research hospital and you may be approached about research.You don’t have to agree and it won’t impact your care”.
  • A member of the research team may approach the potential participant to solicit their interest in participating in the study and perform the enrollment process of gathering of consent.

Pre-Screening of Patients for Eligibility to Develop a Pool of Potentially Eligible Candidates

If the REB has NOT waived the consent requirement:

  1. A member of the research team (i.e., clinical research coordinator, research assistant) may follow the recruitment process and ask the patient if they would sign a study specific consent form (i.e., Consent to Screen Form) prior to accessing the patient’s medical record.This consent form must clearly identify the study to which they are being pre-screened and provide explicit consent for the researcher to access the patient’s health record;
  2. A research team member with appropriate access and training can then access the relevant electronic medical records (EMRs) and paper charts (as approved per the study) for pre-screening activities to confirm potential eligibility;
  3. A research team member may approach the potential participant to solicit their interest in participating in the study and perform the consenting process for enrollment.

If the REB has waived the consent requirement:

  1. A member of the research team may review the relevant EMRs and paper charts (as approved per study) for the purposes of pre-screening patients to determine eligibility for the study;
  2. A member of the patient’s care team must then approach the agreeable potential participant to request their permission for researchers to approach the patient;
  3. A research team member may then approach the agreeable potential participant to solicit their interest in participating in the study.

"Be The Cure" Website

Be The Cure (bethecure.ca) is a website to allow Albertans to learn about health research studies that are actively recruiting human participants.  The website allows the general public to browse and search currently recruiting studies through a user-friendly interface. 

In order to post a study on Be The Cure:

  • Applications must be approved by the HREB (REB 3 - Health Panel or REB 4 - Biomedical Panel); and
  • The online ARISE application form must have the Be The Cure specific pages completed (help document).

If your study already has REB approval, you can submit an amendment to have your study listed on the Be The Cure website.

See also:  Recruitment Materials Requirements section for language requirements