NHRMC COVID-19 Community Research Partnership

New Hanover Regional Medical Center is working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and other large health systems on a community study to learn more about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and how it’s spreading in our region and around the world.

Study participants will complete short online surveys about possible exposures, symptoms and healthcare visits. Some volunteers may be asked to complete an at-home test kit for antibodies.

What is a research study?

Research studies help us gain scientific knowledge that may help people in the future. Please take your time to decide if you want to take part in this research study. You may also talk about this study and your decision to join with your friends and family.

If you have questions about the study, you can contact the study central call center at (910) 667-4000.

Who can join the study?

This study is open to NHRMC patients and healthcare workers age 18 or older.

How do I join the study?

Only NHRMC patients and healthcare workers will be able to join the study.

What is involved in the study?

After you sign the online informed consent, you will be asked to complete a brief enrollment survey.

After you enroll in the study, you will receive an email from the Oracle COVID-19 Patient Monitoring System to complete a brief questionnaire on symptoms and exposure to the coronavirus.

You will be sent email reminders to complete the survey daily, which should take less than 2 minutes to complete. The survey can be completed on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The study will continue for up to one year but may change depending on Federal and State funding or continuing concern about the pandemic. However, study participation is voluntary and you may leave the study at any time.

Some participants will also be selected to receive an at-home test kit for antibodies in the blood and/or the coronavirus in saliva.

How often will I have to do an online survey? What if I miss one?

The surveys are daily but take less than 2 minutes.

The survey includes a few quick questions about how you feel that day and if you were around anyone sick. If you happen to miss a survey, don’t worry. You will get another one the next day.

What is involved in the study?

After filling out the online informed consent, you will be asked to complete a brief enrollment survey. You will receive an email with a link to complete an online registration form. The form can be completed on your smartphone, tablet or computer.

Occasionally, for up to one year, you will receive a link to a very brief survey to complete.

The survey can be completed on your smartphone, tablet or computer. In the beginning, you will receive the survey every day. Over time, you may receive the surveys less often. The study will continue as long as there are concerns about the pandemic in our region. However, you can stop receiving the surveys at any time.

The survey will cover the following:

  • Your COVID-19 illness history or symptoms
  • Your visits to the doctor and treatments
  • Your contact with other sick people
  • If you are a healthcare worker, your use of personal protective equipment
  • The information collected in the survey will be used for research purposes and will not be entered into your medical records.

A random group of participants will also be selected to receive an at-home test kit for antibodies.

How often will I have to do an online survey? What if I miss one?

The surveys are daily but take less than 1 minute.

The survey includes a few quick questions about how you feel that day. If you happen to miss a survey, don’t worry. You will get another one the next day.

Is the at-home test kit for antibodies optional?

Yes. You can choose to take part in the at-home testing, or you can choose to only complete the surveys, or you can choose to do both.

If you choose to do the at-home testing and you are selected for testing, you’ll be sent test kits in the mail, which look for antibodies, or markers in your blood that determine if you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus. You will do a finger prick to collect a sample of your blood on a test strip. Your kit will instruct you to take a picture of the test strip and send the picture using an app on your smart phone.

You’ll only need to do a test once a month and no more than 6 times in the study year. If you test positive, a different antibody test kit may be sent to confirm results. This test will be sent one time. You will do a finger prick to collect a sample of your blood on a test card and then place the card back into the provided envelop and return mailer. The at-home antibody testing does not diagnose (tell you if you have) COVID-19.

Some study participants may be sent a test kit which looks for coronavirus in saliva. You will swab around the inside of your mouth and then place the swab into a capped tube and then into a return mailer. If you test positive, the virus was detected in your saliva that suggests an infection with COVID-19 virus.

All testing is being done for research only. However, we advise that you follow CDC guidelines.

Will my privacy be protected if I join the study?

Agencies involved in the study are held to national standards to protect the privacy of Personal Health Information (PHI). We will make every effort to keep your PHI private. Your information will be used for research purposes only and will not be entered into your medical records.

The information being collected for this study was approved by an Institutional Review Board (IRB), which serves to protect the rights and welfare of research participants.

If you have questions about the study, you can contact the study central call center at (910) 667-4000 or email COVID19CRP@nhrmc.org.