Guidance for Research Participants During the COVID-19 Pandemic


Updated: March 2022

Duke Health’s top priority is protecting the health and well-being of our patients, visitors, research participants, and team members. Safety measures are in place throughout Duke Health hospitals and clinics to keep everyone safe and protected from possible exposure to COVID-19.

Many of the in-person clinical research activities that were paused in March 2020 have restarted. In-person enrollment activities that take place during routine care visits were restarted in June 2020. Whenever possible, study teams offer virtual or remote activities. We continue to monitor the situation as we make decisions to move forward.

Frequently Asked Questions


How is Duke protecting research participants and staff during in-person visits?

Your study coordinator will contact you before your in-person visit for a pre-screening interview. This will include standard questions about any potential exposures to COVID-19 or symptoms you are having. If you are planning on having someone accompany you to the research visit please review our visitor restrictions.

We are using phone and video visits when possible to limit the number of people in our clinics.

Read more details about the safety precautions in place at Duke Health hospitals and clinics.

I live far away – should I travel to Duke to participate in a research study?

Sometimes Duke may have a study that may not be offered at a site close to your home.  Deciding whether to travel to Duke for that study is a personal decision that you should make with your local health care provider. They can help you balance the risks of travel with the benefits of participation in the research study.

If you are planning on having someone accompany you to the research visit, please review our visitor restrictions.

All visitors and patients will be screened before they can enter an outpatient clinic or hospital.

Who should I contact to learn what’s next for my study? 
All study teams are contacting people currently enrolled in a study or scheduled to enroll in the near future. 

You may contact the study team using the phone number on your consent form to learn if you should come in for your next study visit or if it will be done using remote options (phone calls, video calls). 

If you are scheduled for an in-person visit, the study team may contact you before your visit to ask if you have COVID-19 symptoms. If you are not screened ahead of your visit, you will be screened when you arrive for your visit.

What should I do if I am in treatment on a clinical trial?
If you are in treatment on a clinical trial (for example, getting a study drug), you may continue treatment, although your study visit schedule may change. When you come for your treatment, you will be asked COVID-19 screening questions. This is intended to protect you, your family, and our health care workers.

If you are sick, have symptoms, or have been exposed to somebody who has COVID-19, your visit may be rescheduled. We will do everything we can to maintain your treatment schedule.

What should I do if my next visit is a follow-up visit?

If you have follow-up visits, these may continue as planned, or we may reschedule or cancel these visits or convert them to video or phone visits. 

Follow-up visits are not treatment visits. A member of the study team will contact you to discuss these visits before your next scheduled visit.

Please contact your study team with any questions or concerns. We are here to help guide you.

If you are having side effects or have been diagnosed with COVID-19, please contact your study team right away using the 24-hour contact number in your consent form.

If you do not have or cannot access your consent form, please call the myRESEARCHpartners line (919-681-5698) and we will help you find the person you should talk to.

Can I participate in my study remotely?
You may be asked to participate in your study by talking with the study team by phone or through video conferencing using a computer or mobile device.  Contact your study team to find out if this is an option.

Is Duke doing COVID-19 research?
Learn about COVID treatment and prevention clinical research at Duke.