Cambridge patients can opt-in to hear about research studies relevant for them

Patients of Cambridge University Hospitals (CUH) now have the option to state on their hospital medical records if they would like to be contacted to take part in research at the Trust.

Currently, a patient’s clinical care team can approach them about taking part in a research study. ‘Consent for Contact’ has recently been introduced that allows  patients to give their permission for hospital research teams outside of their clinical team to contact them directly about studies for which they may be eligible, based on their health record information.

It is hoped that through Consent for Contact, more people will have an opportunity to take part in research at the hospital, which will help researchers to better understand the causes of disease and improve treatments.

How does Consent for Contact work?

During outpatient appointments, clinical staff may ask patients whether they would like to be contacted to take part in future research studies and clinical trials at Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals. If the patient agrees, their consent will be recorded within their electronic hospital  medical record and will show in their MyChart patient portal account (if they are a MyChart user).

Researchers working at the hospital can search for patients who have consented to be contacted about research to see whether they are eligible to take part in specific studies.

Those who are suitable for a particular study will be contacted with details of what will be involved and provided with a patient information sheet. Patients are free to choose whether or not they would like to participate in any research study.

Patients are not obligated to take part in research and can withdraw from a study at any time without having to provide a reason. Refusing to take part will not affect their current care or future appointments. 

Supporting patient choices about research

Patients can also give their consent for contact directly from within their MyChart patient portal account (sign up to MyChart here MyChart – Sign Up ( and can update or change their contact preferences at any time.  MyChart – allowing patients of Addenbrooke’s and The Rosie hospitals secure electronic access to parts of their hospital medical record – provides options to be contacted about observational studies, interventional studies or both.  Observational studies are research studies where researchers collect information from participants and/or their biological samples (such as blood or urine) or look at data that has already been collected (in health records, for example), without making any changes to a patient’s usual care.  Interventional studies are those that are testing new treatments or diagnostics, such as clinical trials of new vaccines or medicines.

Professor Miles Parkes, Director of the NIHR Cambridge BRC and consultant gastroenterologist at CUH said: “We are thrilled to have this new capability that enables patients to let us know if they would like to be contacted by our research teams directly about potentially taking part in research.

“Over the past 10 years researchers in Cambridge have made some significant discoveries that are changing the way we deliver healthcare, and that is thanks to the people who choose to participate in research. We know research saves lives and having more people take part in research will not only accelerate our work but help our understanding of some of the most complex health conditions we face today.”

Taking part in research at Cambridge University Hospitals

The NIHR Cambridge BRC supports hundreds of studies at Cambridge University Hospitals. Our researchers are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of people and to try and tackle the most significant health problems through world-class research.

Between 2021 and 2022 more than 29,200 people took part in NIHR Cambridge BRC supported research, which included studies in cancer, dementia, diabetes, mental health, MS and women’s health.  

Find out more information about taking part in research or on the Be Part of Research website.

Discover more about the NIHR Cambridge BRC

Contact us by phone, email or web for more information.

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