Imagine you are a recreational soccer player, and you move to a new town with no teams. You have no experience finding players or organizing teams, but spend months finding people who also want to play. When you finally have the teams together, you think about all the time you could have spent playing the game you love, instead of recruiting players.
Researchers need health information to conduct research and make discoveries. This health information comes from volunteers who agree to participate. Like the soccer player, research scientists often need help finding volunteers. Researchers’ time is best spent making discoveries about health – like what makes us healthy or sick, or which treatments work best in which patients. Instead, before nearly every project, a researcher must “build their team” of hundreds or thousands of research volunteers to participate.
The KP Research Bank is a connector between volunteers willing to help by sharing health information, and researchers who are ready to do health research projects. When KP members volunteer for the KP Research Bank, they agree to share their de-identified medical record information (that means personal information like name, address etc. are removed), a health survey, and a small blood sample with researchers. No further commitment is needed.
When a researcher wants to study a specific health issue, they can connect with the KP Research Bank for the health information needed to do research – such as medical record data, or genetic information. For nearly all the projects the KP Research Bank supports, the two groups – the volunteers and researchers – likely will not meet. A lot of health research can be done with the health data, survey data and the blood sample that was already given by volunteers like you!
By being a connector, the KP Research Bank provides an important service. The KP Research Bank identifies people willing to help, and signs them up to share health information. This means the information from volunteers is ready to go, when a researcher is ready to study a particular health question. This saves time and helps researchers do their job more quickly.
That is the purpose of the KP Research Bank.
Thank you for helping researchers reach their discovery goals!