New EHR systems speed trial recruitment, boost costs

Some technologically advanced medical centers like Pennsylvania's Geisinger Health System have found that cutting-edge electronic health records can significantly cut the amount of time it takes to find precisely the right patients for a clinical trial. As an example, Geisinger says it was able to recruit 101 patients for a study GlaxoSmithKline is running on the heart drug darapladib in a matter of weeks.

"I think this is the future of how we are going to do studies," Alan Go, director of comprehensive clinical research at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, tells the Wall Street Journal. He's also been using electronic health record technology to speed up trial enrollment.

But there are some big pitfalls to consider as well. In Geisinger's case, the data culled from the database was used for a mass mailing that was followed up by a team working at a call center. Patient recruitment was completed on a shorter schedule, but the process was more expensive than traditional recruiting efforts. Nevertheless advocates say that the bigger upfront cost is well worth the money, advancing new drugs along the pipeline faster and shortening the time it takes to get an approval--or kill a non-performer.

- here's the article from the Wall Street Journal