One of the requests we get from time to time is, can we obtain physician confirmation of the patient’s diagnosis. This is often the case with IRB-approved Health Economics Outcomes Research.
The answer is yes, we can obtain physician confirmation of diagnosis. However, it does take more time and money. And it will lower the response rate. We have to ask each patient who qualifies to contact their physician and request the confirmation. The physician’s office has to provide that, and as you imagine, with physician offices still in the world of fax, it requires some persistence and time to obtain the confirmation. But it can be done. We add a fee of $100 for each physician confirmation obtained, and we add an extra month to the recruiting.
But since our panel is recruited in person at patient events, and through patient referrals and advocacy groups, we’ve had some IRBs change the protocol for their studies and accept our patients without physician confirmation of diagnosis. So, it would be worthwhile to check with us and the IRB early in the process, before the protocol is submitted and approved. We know there is great reluctance to make changes after the IRB has given their approval!