Single site to boost patient participation in clinical trials

The federal government has launched what it is calling a “one-stop shop” for information on clinical trials that it hopes will boost patient participation in medical research.

Launched today by health minister Sussan Ley and industry and science minister Ian Macfarlane, the Australian Clinical Trials website is aimed at making it easier for patients to take part in clinical trials.

Local figures show that just under half of all phase three clinical trials conducted in Australia do not meet their patient recruitment targets.

Ms Ley said participating in clinical trials offers patients access to new trial therapies, offering them hope at a time when other avenues may have already been exhausted. Not being able to recruit enough participants is considered one of the main reasons for a seven per cent decline in the number of trials conducted in Australia from 2012 to 2013.

“This reform will provide Australians right across the country, including regional and rural patients, greater access to clinical trials and will help to improve health outcomes,” Ms Ley said in statement.

Mr Macfarlane said in addition to offering easy access to information about the trial, who can enrol and what is required of patients, the tool also puts patients in contact with the head researcher with just one click.

“For trials to be scientifically rigorous, they need the involvement of many patients and this online tool will make it is easier for patients to be aware of the trials available across Australia, and how they work,” he said.

“This website also responds to calls from researchers and the clinical sector to include new e-learning modules to help both consumers and researchers to better understand how the clinical trials system works.”

The initiative is a collaborative effort between the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Department of Health, and the Department for Industry and Science.

Last month, Apple released code for its ResearchKit framework, which promises to allow patients to more easily take part in medical research through their iPhones. Apple said over 60,000 iPhone users had enrolled in five research studies within the first few weeks of an app being made available.

Posted in Australian eHealth

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