How to refer your patient for a clinical trial

How to find a clinical trial

At any time, there are numerous clinical trials available in Australia.

You can search for a trial appropriate for your patients or direct them to the listing of clinical trial organisations on this website, that includes:

  • Clinical trials registries
  • Research networks and specialist research organisations
  • Clinical trial organisations that provide information for potential participants
  • Support groups for people with a specific disease or condition

How to refer your patient for a clinical trial

Contact the trial team directly wherever possible. A clinical trial summary, pamphlet or poster should include the phone number of a person or an office that can be contacted for more information.

There is usually no need to talk to the lead researcher when you call, even if his or her name is given along with the telephone number. Instead, call the number and ask to speak with the ‘trial coordinator', 'study coordinator’ or ‘referral coordinator’. This person can answer initial questions about the study and how to complete the referral. It is this person’s job to decide whether the patient is likely to be eligible to join the trial.

The final decision will probably not be made until the patient has met a doctor or investigator who is conducting the trial, has provided informed consent and has had tests done to confirm suitability.

Someone from the trial site will contact you regarding the progress of the patient through the critical steps of joining the trial.

Becoming involved

You may wish to become involved in running a clinical trial yourself if:

  • you are interested in the research question
  • you have patients and/or expertise to contribute.

Contact sponsors of research or current research groups about the possibility of participating in a trial either as a principal or co-investigator.


The Consumers Health Forum have developed a factsheet about clinical trials — Consumer guide to clinical trials (PDF, 130KB) — that can be useful for your patients.

Further resources for you and for your patients are available on the useful links page.