It is a misconception that clinical research only involves people with an illness. In many cases, people who are healthy are needed to be control groups or try non-invasive techniques to further research. Oftentimes, these paid research opportunities are easy, making it simple to earn a little extra cash.
One example of participating in clinical research as a healthy volunteer is with vaccinations. The annual flu vaccine is tested each year to determine if it is effective at minimizing or preventing people from becoming sick if they are exposed to the flu. This is an easy way to have a free flu shot and you might be compensated for your time, traveling to the testing center, and any follow-up communication needed. Since the flu vaccine is typically sent out later in the year, you are more likely to find openings for this type of research in the spring and summer. Other vaccinations might also be tested in healthy populations, such as those that are already part of routine vaccination schedules, but might be updated to be more effective.
Many clinical trials involve behavior modification, such as eating, exercise, and therapy programs designed to help people make lifestyle changes. You might have a little extra weight to lose or simply need to be healthier, even if you are at a proper weight. Some studies might compare different methods of inducing lifestyle changes, such as speaking with a therapist versus a personal trainer. Other types of studies might be comparing different dietary approaches, such as high carbohydrate versus high protein, and seeing the end results in body composition. The results of these studies are important for determining which approaches to diet and exercise are more likely to be effective and if certain approaches work better for specific people.
Healthy volunteers can participate in some testing of medical devices. This could be something simple like home blood pressure or glucose monitoring kits or devices used in lab to test for routine blood work and urinalysis. Researchers may often develop new methods of collecting the same information, especially when their goal is to make testing easier and more consistent. Some other medical devices that might be applicable for healthy volunteers can include health monitoring apps or devices. A doctor might want you to test a new monitor to see if it is accurate in caloric burn, heart rate, and other indicators that people frequently used when they are physically active.
There are many ways healthy volunteers can participate in paid medical research. Healthy volunteers are equally as important as those with a medical condition in improving treatments and furthering the goals of the medical community.