Site matches subjects with trials

Healogica-Clinical Trials 2.0 is up and running. The website acts as a monster.com for clinical trials by pairing subjects and trials via a matching algorithm. The site was started by Drs. Ed Shin and J.L. Neptune, who had worked at the tech-enabled consultancy Gerson Lehrman Group, and Jeff O'Connell.

Shin says the idea for the site came from the simple fact that "it was just so hard to find easy-to-understand information" on clinical trials. He and Neptune began working together on the project part time in early 2008. The recent launch comprises a database of major oncology and diabetes trials to prove their concept, demonstrating it for both acute and chronic conditions.

Ultimately, the site's main revenue will come from clinical research centers, which will be charged to access site data. Clinicians will be able to get qualified, anonymized patient information via the Healogica platform. They can then ask protocol questions and do further vetting through the platform, rather than by telephone.

The database will eventually exceed 50,000 clinical trials, covering more than 50 conditions. Inflammatory and neurological diseases are next, including multiple sclerosis and Huntington's. Shin says he expects to have the clinical inventory part of the site ready in about three months.

The partners are now working on how to drive people to the website. They are considering the use of widgets, in partnership with vertical health sites and such patient social networks as inspire.com and weare.us. Shin says that effort will be followed by outreach to sites like WebMD. They will also optimize the site for search engines.

Shin says he finds the Twitter clinical trial application "interesting." But here's the paradox: "We want to provide an easy way to find trials, but those looking for trials want more information. Also, there are privacy issues that are difficult to solve on the Twitter platform."

His goal is a "comprehensive platform that also respects privacy, giving the user some control."

- visit the Healogica site
- see our Twitter coverage

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