The ProofPilot Blog - Design, Launch & Participant in Research Studies

Pay to Participate Studies

Today, ProofPilot began launching studies in which some participants pay for products and services in the study. These studies are on a range of topics by various health and wellness brands. Together, we hope these studies will help answer a key question: How reliable are study results in which participants receive free product (or are even paid), when in the real world, those same products would have a cost?

It is true, participation in clinical trials is often (but not always) free. Sometimes, there’s even compensation for participation.  Many studies on ProofPilot are free to engage in. Some even provide financial compensation.

Reproducing research study results in ‘the real world’ is a key goal for many studies on ProofPilot. Unfortunately, most healthcare and performance treatments are not free.  Free is not real life. Presumably in the real world, you would pay for the product or service in the study.

So, it is an ongoing question. Are we creating trials in which we are testing things in an unrealistic environment? Is that unrealistic environment skewing results so they are not reproducible in real life?

The thinking is based on basic behavioral economics. A payment for a product or service can have a big impact on how much you use it.  You paid a bit, so you’re more likely to follow the treatment directions. And treatment adherence has a massive impact on study outcomes.

Only studies recruiting health individuals trialing are part of this experiment. Any study recruiting those with a specific medical health need are not part of this experiment. And as always, every study on ProofPilot is also reviewed by a third party ethics board. They look closely at issues of payment and compensation. No study begins recruiting participants until the third party reviewers give us the green light.

This series of studies is an important part of our strategy to make new studies possible and make results as applicable to the real world as possible.

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