REACH BC – Connecting Researchers with Study Participants

REACH BC logo

What is REACH BC?

REACH BC is a publicly-funded online provincial platform that matches health research opportunities with potential study participants across BC. Members of the public are connected with health researchers for opportunities to participate in research studies and as patient partners to inform various stages of the research process. 

Now part of Michael Smith Health Research BC, REACH BC first launched in April 2020. To date, approximately 5,000 volunteer participants and 850 researchers have signed up to use the platform. An upcoming marketing campaign will focus on increasing recruitment of rural and remote volunteers in BC as well as building a more diverse volunteer database.

REACH BC - how it works

Members of the  public (adults 16+) create their free volunteer profile online at www.reachbc.ca they get to select which Health Categories are of interest to them, and they can also browse the full directory listing all studies.  Upon choosing a study to participate in, their contact information is sent to the researcher via email.  All personal volunteer information is stored on a secure encrypted server housed in BC. REACH BC is compliant with the BC Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) and accepted by Research Ethics Boards in BC as a recruitment method.

Researchers can also share study results with the public via the REACH BC platform, therefore supporting knowledge mobilization and increasing the visibility of findings and research efforts.

REACH BC - experience from Malak Ibrahim

Malak Ibrahim, a Graduate Student in the Reproductive and Developmental Sciences program at UBC is working in the Talhouk Lab assisting with recruitment for the Spot the Difference Study. Malak kindly shared her experience with using REACH BC to recruit.

For those looking to recruit participants online, REACH BC is a great tool! Although I had known about the platform before, I was unsure about the number of participants I would be able to recruit. To my surprise, new volunteers were indicating interest everyday and I was able to recruit the participants I needed for my study.

Malak Ibrahim, Graduate Student Tweet

Malak shared two pearls for using REACH BC:

  1. A helpful feature on the platform is the “pause” function which allows you to pause study recruitment in order to best manage the number of participants you are processing. 
  2. If your study provides honoraria, something to consider is specifying what and when the honoraria are provided. This should be included in the “study details” since the study post will show participants if compensation is provided, however there is no dedicated written section for those details.
REACH BC - how do I sign up?

Create your REACH BC researcher account today by visiting the website: https://www.reachbc.ca/researcher 

Please contact the REACH BC team with any questions you may have:

Stef Cheah REACH BC Manager scheah@healthresearchbc.ca

Aisling Quigley REACH BC Marketing and Communications Specialist: aquigley@healthresearchbc.ca

For an in-depth overview of the REACH BC platform, check out the WHRI’s REACH BC Webinar

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