There are two major types of AHC clinics, research clinics, and medical treatment clinics. Research clinics include an investigator working on an AHC research project. Medical treatment clinics include a physician focused on treating an AHC patient. These clinics may only focus on AHC or may include a variety of other disciplines; these are referred to as multi-disciplinary clinics.
The table below explains some of the differences between clinics.
|Research Clinic||Medical Treatment Clinic|
|Intent||Answers specific questions through research involving numerous research volunteers.||Addresses the needs of individual patients.|
|Intended Benefit||Generally designed and intended to benefit future patients.||Intended to benefit the individual patient.|
|Funding||Usually paid for by drug developers, government agencies, or foundations.||Funded by individual patients and their health plans.|
|Timeframe||Depends on research protocols.||Requires real-time decisions.|
|Consent||Requires written informed consent.||May or may not require informed consent.|
|Assessment||Involves periodic and systematic assessment of patient data.||Based on as-needed patient assessment.|
|Protections||Protected by government agencies, institutional review boards, professional standards, informed consent, and legal standards.||Guided by state boards of medical practice, professional standards, peer review, informed consent, and legal standards.|
|Certainty||Tests theories of unproven benefit to the patient.||Uses products and procedures accepted by the medical community as safe and effective.|
|Access to Information||Considered confidential intellectual property.||Personal medical records are available upon request only to the patient.|
|Release of Findings||Typically published in medical journals after clinical research ends.||Individual medical records are not released to the general public.|
Deciding on Whether or Not to Visit an AHC Clinic
Traveling with a child who has AHC can be a daunting task. Some issues to consider when making your decision to travel to a clinic include the following:
- Understand all the possible benefits and risks involved with traveling to a clinic.
- Understand how long the appointment(s) will last, where it will be conducted, and the overall visit plan.
- Understand how care will be managed once back at home.
- Understand how your insurance coverage may coordinate with appointment expenses.
- If you participate in a research study, understand what will be expected of you as a participant.
- Be sure to ask any questions and express all concerns about your visit or participation in a study.
- Understand the registration requirements and which medical records may be needed before your appointment.
- Remember that participation in a research study is voluntary, and you will decide on completing the entire study before enrolling.
AHC Clinics in the United States
Our community is extremely fortunate to have a number of research and medical treatment clinics within the United States. Contact us to find out more about them.