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Frequently Asked Questions

The KP Research Bank is a collection of health information and bio samples (for example blood or saliva) shared by Kaiser member volunteers. Researchers use this information to study how genes, lifestyle and the environment affect health. The goal of the Research Bank is to improve the health of our members and the broader community.


Why should I join the KP Research Bank? 

It’s important that everyone is represented in health research.

Diversity matters. Your genetic makeup is unique and important. If only certain groups participate in research, then only certain groups can benefit from the findings.

When researchers study diverse groups of people, they can learn how treatments, therapies or preventive measures affect people from different environments and backgrounds.

All adult Kaiser members can participate in the Research Bank. The more members who join, the more powerful health discoveries will be.

See why members have joined.

If you join the Research Bank, you are helping researchers and doctors learn more about health and diseases. Your information may lead to better treatments for people and communities in the future.

What are the steps for participating? 

  1. Click the Get Started button, log in and read the consent form.
  2. If you agree to participate, submit your consent.
  3. We will place a blood draw order for you and send you an email with lab visit instructions once the order is ready
  4. Visit your local Kaiser lab at any time to complete the blood draw. No appointment is needed. There is no co-pay for the KP Research Bank blood draw.
  5. Complete a health and lifestyle survey before or after you provide a blood sample.

We may ask you to provide additional information in the future. 

What information will I share if I participate? 

If you join, you agree to share:

  • Information from completed health surveys
  • A small blood sample collected when you go to the lab
  • Leftover samples taken from you during regular Kaiser care visits.
  • Information from your past and future medical record

How is the KP Research Bank different from a clinical trial?  

A clinical trial tests whether an intervention or medication is safe and effective. You might receive a medication, undergo a procedure, or have your health followed. In the KP Research Bank you will be asked to give one or more bio samples, such as a blood sample, complete health surveys, and share information from your medical record.

You are eligible to participate in the KP Research Bank:

  • Even if you are not eligible for a clinical trial
  • Whether or not you are participating in a clinical trial.
  • All adult KP members are eligible to join the KP Research Bank

Why do I have to provide a blood sample? 

Blood contains a lot of information about how the human body works. For example, the DNA in blood contains genetic information, which researcher use to study how genes affect health and disease. Even small amounts of blood have enough DNA to use for research. 

Will the KP Research Bank share my personal results with me? 

You should not expect to get personal results from research done through the KP Research Bank. Researchers study bio samples and data from many people over many years before they know if the results have meaning. Research is not the same as medical care. If you have any health concerns, please talk to your doctor.

There is a very small chance that researchers could discover something that might be very important to your health. If this happens, KP researchers and doctors will work together to see if this could impact your medical care. If so, we will contact you to see if you want to learn more. We will not give the results to your doctor or put them in your medical record without your permission.

Can I find out what research studies are using my information? 

You will not be told which studies are using your samples and health information. However, you can find information about the studies that are being done.

Are there any risks? 

Participating in the Research Bank does not involve the use of any medications, devices, or procedures.

The physical risks are small. When you give your blood sample, you may feel brief pain or have some bruising from the needle. Lightheadedness and fainting are also possible, but not likely.

The biggest risk is that someone could get access to the data you provided, despite best efforts to keep your stored information safe. The chance that this will happen is very small, but there is no guarantee that there is no risk. The KP Research Bank will make every reasonable effort to protect your privacy.

What are the benefits? 

Providing your bio samples and health information will help scientists find new ways to prevent, discover, and treat health problems.

Can my participation affect my health care coverage or premiums?

No. The information you provide will only be used for approved research. It will never be used to increase your health insurance premiums or affect decisions about your health insurance coverage.


How long will my samples and health information be used? 

Your samples and information will be used for research for an unlimited amount of time. The information can still be used if you are no longer a Kaiser Permanente member. You can withdraw your participation at any time. 

Is there any cost? 

No, participation is free. 

Will I be paid to participate? 

You will not be paid for participating. 

Will the KP Research Bank contact me in the future? 

Yes, The KP Research Bank might contact you in the future to ask if you are willing to:

  • Complete a survey
  • Provide an additional blood sample
  • Participate in other research studies

We will also email you a newsletter with updates about KP Research Bank work.


Who can participate in the KP Research Bank? 

All adult Kaiser Permanente members, 18 or older, are eligible to join. 

How did you get my contact information and/or medical information? 

Your Kaiser Permanente health plan membership agreement states that you may be contacted to participate in research. However, joining the KP Research Bank is your choice. If you do not want to be contacted in the future, please email us at or call at 844-268-2947.

Can you join if you are Kaiser Permanente member through Medicare, or the state insurance exchange? 


Can I still participate if I am no longer a member of Kaiser Permanente? 

You cannot enroll in the Research Bank if you are not a current Kaiser member. However, if you are already a participant, your de-identified information and sample remain in the Research Bank.  

Am I required to participate? 

No. Joining is your choice. If you decide not to join now, or to withdraw your consent later, your decision will not affect your routine health care or health benefits. 

What if I no longer want to participate? 

The KP Research Bank is a volunteer program. You can leave the program at any time. Leaving will not affect your Kaiser Permanente insurance or health care.

If you wish to withdraw, please notify the KP Research Bank by phone at 844-268-2947 or by email at or in writing:

Kaiser Permanente Research Bank
One Kaiser Plaza, 22nd fl.
Oakland, CA 94612

Privacy, Security and Safety

How is my health information kept private and secure? 

Samples are kept in locked buildings and storage areas. Personal health information and data are stored on secure servers and computers protected through electronic safeguards.

When data is provided to researchers, your name and other personal identifying information are removed and assigned a unique code.

Only researchers with approved studies have access to the KP Research Bank data. Insurance companies, employers, even family cannot get your information.

How will you protect me as a study participant? 

A Kaiser Permanente Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews all research studies before they start. Members of the IRB include health care providers, researchers, and community members.

All research activities are monitored by the IRB to make sure that regulations are followed, and ethical principles are met. The IRB makes sure that:

  • The rights, safety, privacy, and dignity of all participants are protected.
  • The benefits of the research outweigh the risks.
  • The risks to people who participate are as low as possible.

The KP Research Bank has a Certificate of Confidentiality from the federal government (through the National Institutes of Health). Having the certificate means that no one can force the KP Research Bank to share information that may link to you. This includes a court subpoena by federal, state, or local civil, criminal, administrative, legislative, or other proceedings.

The KP Research Bank has two Advisory Boards that offer guidance: a Community Advisory Board and a Scientific Advisory Board. Some board members are experts in research and ethics, others are leaders in the community or are KP members. The Advisory Boards provide guidance about topics such as members’ data privacy and informed consent.

There are also laws in place to protect you. The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) is a federal law. The law makes it illegal for employers and health insurers to use certain kinds of information about your genes to discriminate against you.

Meeting in conference room

Here are some examples of what researchers may discover

  • New knowledge about what keeps people healthy 
  • New information about what makes people sick 
  • How to improve disease prevention and treatments 
  • How health is affected by the environment (air we breathe, water we drink) 
  • How health is affected by genes (DNA) 
  • How health is affected by behaviors (such as smoking) 
  • How we can prevent illness in communities 
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