NMQF enlists Microsoft for platform to improve diversity of clinical trials

February 16, 2013 in Medical Technology

The National Minority Quality Forum announced a collaboration Friday, between its National Health Index and Microsoft, to launch the National Clinical Trial Network, which aims to drive improvements in clinical trials by accelerating recruitment and diversity.

Officials say the partnership will enable NCTN to develop a platform that offers a comprehensive database of clinical trial options to providers.

“It’s our view (that) big data will change the way we conduct clinical trials moving forward,” said Gary Puckrein, president and CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum, in a statement. “What makes the NCTN platform unique is it will provide an interactive, communications portal linking researchers to practicing physicians whose diversity of patients may be candidates for clinical trials.”

NCTN will also be a data warehouse – with patient registries, bio banks and community-level health statistics – transforming isolated data repositories into an integrated, searchable, national archive, officials say. That will enable the rapid identification of representative samples of risk populations who might benefit from a proposed therapy.

“Being able to quickly link the broader community of medical researchers, practicing physicians, tertiary care centers and allied health professionals together, we can expedite discovery and translational research,” said Puckrein.

NCTN will maintain searchable profiles of clinical research institutions, experienced clinical investigators and those interested in being a clinical researcher. Its investigator registry will provide background information on investigators, their practices and the communities that they serve.

“This collaboration with the National Health Index is truly a 21st century healthcare venture, using big data and Microsoft’s proprietary software to give the research community a vast array of information and communications tools,” said Michael Robinson, vice president of U.S. Health and Life Sciences at Microsoft, in a statement. “We fully expect NCTN to transform clinical research in the United States.”

“Biopharmaceutical companies continue to explore new ways to further enhance awareness and participation in clinical trials by a diverse patient population,” said Salvatore Alesci, MD, vice president of scientific affairs at Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. He added that the group applauds efforts such as these to “create connectivity that can translate into increased diversity among clinical trial participants.”

The National Clinical Trial Network will be introduced in the fourth quarter 2013, officials say. Learn more here.

[See also: National Health Index, n4a win Sanofi diabetes innovation challenge]


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