What is the difference between patients and subjects, in clinical research?

I read this paper abstract:

The terms “patient” and “subject” are often used interchangeably when proposing, conducting, or reporting on research. This error is not just a semantic one but also a conceptual one. Proper use of these terms is essential for all parties involved in the research to understand clearly their roles, expectations, and obligations.

which tends to make me think there might be some differences but the actual article is behind a paywall.

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    I would think that a "patient" is someone who is currently under medical care for a condition or disease. A "subject" is someone who: may have a condition that requires treatment, but is not under the care of a physician/is used for experimental purposes that have nothing to do with medical research/submits to medical research - not because of a health problem, but solely to supplement their income. – Oldbag Jun 14 '15 at 18:32
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    A 'subject' doesn't have to be doing it to supplement their income, there could be many reasons. But you are right that 'subject' doesn't imply that the person is ill. – DJClayworth Jun 14 '15 at 20:17
  • In the medical establishment, there is a strong tendency for healthcare providers to simply make the connection "<person being given drugs/having procedures performed on them> = <patient>"; an understandable error, though erroneous nonetheless. – Watercleave Jun 14 '15 at 20:37
  • The authors are just pointing out that 'patient' and 'subject' are often the same (many subjects in experiments led by a physician are their own patients) but in some important instances they are distinct. – Mitch Jun 14 '15 at 22:49
  • My Clinical Trials Unit uses the word 'participant' in all cases. – Malcolm Hart Aug 22 '19 at 12:28

Here is a useful site of clinical terminology.

A 'patient' is a person receiving medical care, while a 'subject' is a person being experimented on. Often the two categories overlap, but not necessarily. For example a trial to ensure that a drug has no side-effects may involve giving it to people who are not sick, in which case they are a subject but not a patient. Also if a person is in the control group of a drug trial they are not receiving the drug, and it might be stretching the point to classify them as 'patients'.

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