OBJECTIVE: To assess attitudes of patients about participation in clinical trials. PATIENTS AND METHODS: This is a self-report survey of 400 patients who underwent general medical evaluations between September and November 2006 at a tertiary care academic medical center in Rochester, MN. We measured knowledge of access to clinical trials, attitudes toward participation, recruitment preferences, and beliefs about research integrity. RESULTS: Of 485 consecutive patients, 400 (82%) completed the survey. Previous participation in clinical trials was reported by 112 patients (28%). Most were unaware of online information about clinical trials (330 [82%]), were satisfied with their current knowledge (233 [58%]), expected their treating physician to inform them about current trials (304 [76%]), and showed equal interest in participating in conventional or complementary intervention trials (174 [44%]). Of the 400 respondents, 321 (80%) found it appropriate to be contacted by mail and 253 (63%) by telephone regarding study participation. Most patients (364 [91%]) wanted to be informed about research findings or else would not participate in future clinical trials (272 [68%]). The most frequently expected compensation was free parking (234 [58%]). Most thought that their safety (373 [93%]) and privacy (376 [94%]) would be guarded. CONCLUSION: Patients are interested in participating in clinical trials but commonly lack adequate information. If patients received more information (through their treating physicians), enrollment might improve. This single-site study has limited generalizability. Future studies involving a diverse group of patients from a broader geographic distribution will help provide more definitive results.
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