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An image depicting the Access Research word mark.Access Research is a process that allows researchers to request basic patient contact information in order to reach out to patients who may be eligible for participation in a research study. Similar systems have been put in place by other hospitals in Ontario, including CAMH, Holland-Bloorview, and Baycrest, with overwhelming success.

Thanks to the implementation of an electronic medical record system – Dovetale – St. Joe’s is able to deliver a similar system for research contact called Access Research.
Access Research allows our researchers to contact patients who are eligible to participate in research studies.

Inclusion in the program is not the same as informed consent for research participation – it merely allows the patient to be contacted to ask if they are interested in being part of a research study. Every patient has the right to withdraw from participation in this program.

Access Research empowers patients with the knowledge of research participation opportunities in ground-breaking studies at St. Joe’s. The program increases equitable access to research and offers patients a way to support local research that can have a global impact.

Concerns & Withdrawal Form

Frequently Asked Questions

Research is a way to learn more about particular diseases or conditions, which can lead to the discovery and evaluation of new treatments. Research benefits patients and the community by continually improving the care that the hospital provides and bringing new, effective treatments to those who need them.

No. Regardless of your participation in the Access Research program, you will continue to receive the same high-quality clinical care that St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton provides to all of its patients.

Patients are automatically included in the Access Research program once they register as a patient within the hospital. Patients will be made aware of this at the registration desk. Participation in the Access Research program is not mandatory; patients can withdraw at any time.

Patients can withdraw from Access Research by notifying the clerk upon registration, or by notifying the researcher when contacted by telephone. Patients can also withdraw any time from Access Research by completing our online Concerns & Withdrawal Form.

When you withdraw from Access Research, your choice is noted in your patient record and you will not be contacted about potential research studies in which you may be eligible to participate. If you have withdrawn from the Access Research program and wish to sign-up again, please contact Adam Weerdenburg ( If your contact information was provided to a researcher before you withdrew, you may still receive a call about that project.

Only patients who have registered at the hospital after April 1, 2020 will be automatically included in the Access Research program. If you have been a previous patient at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and would like to join the program, please contact Adam Weerdenburg (

The Access Research program is compliant with the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). Your patient record is securely stored on the hospital’s network, where only authorized individuals are granted access.

The Access Research program works by comparing the eligibility criteria for a research study with your patient record. No individual will see your record. The study eligibility criteria are entered into a secure program, which will scan your chart to see if you are eligible. If you match, you may be contacted by members of the research team to see if you would like more information or are willing to participate. Being matched to a study does not mean that you are automatically part of that study.

The program only accesses information in your patient chart at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton. It does not access information from any other health care provider outside of the institution.

Your information is not accessed by an individual, it is only matched to study criteria by a computer program. Your health information will never be accessed by any individual without your consent.

When you are matched to a research study, members of a research team will only see your name, telephone number, and the number associated with your patient record. No other information is provided.

How often you are contacted depends on the eligibility criteria for studies at The Research Institute of St. Joe’s. You may be contacted up to a couple times per year, or not at all. If you have been matched to a study, the researchers for that particular study are the only people who can contact you within a 30-day window. After that 30-day window, you will be eligible to be matched to a new study.

No. Access Research is not a research study; it is only a method to inform you of opportunities to participate in research.

No. Participation in research is your choice.

You can find more information about the program by calling the hospital at 905-522-1155 and speak to the Research Administration Office (extension 36115) or the Chief Privacy Officer (extension 35088). You can also leave comments via the online Concerns & Withdrawal Form.

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Access Research Concerns & Withdrawal Form

An online form used to submit questions, concerns, or withdrawal requests related to the Access Research program.


Talk to one of our contacts for more information.

Adam Weerdenburg
Pre-Award and Clinical Operations Manager
Phone: 905-522-1155 ext. 35280