Healthcare // Patient Tools
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5/1/2012
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Corengi Simplifies Patient Recruitment For Clinical Trials

Service aims to save diabetes researchers time and money by linking them to patients who qualify for their studies.

Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
Is A Personal Health Record In Your Future?
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One challenge facing clinical trial recruiters is getting enough participants. Seattle-based Corengi is making that task easier with a search engine that helps diabetics find studies for which they are qualified.

"There are lots of people with type 2 diabetes online trying to manage their condition who aren't thinking about clinical trials. So we developed a widget that is embedded on half a dozen other diabetes websites," Ryan Luce, co-founder and president of Corengi told Information Week Healthcare.

Of course, patients need to be aware that enrolling in a trial doesn't guarantee that the new experimental treatment will actually improve their diabetes. Despite this caveat, the widget gives diabetics access to several relevant studies that may help get the disorder under control if current treatment is ineffective.

Luce said Corengi is trying to connect two groups: first, potential participants and, second, individuals or organizations looking for participants. It's marketing to potential participants with "the widget, leveraging traditional social networks, our own website, blogging, search engine optimization (SEO), and search engine marketing (SEM)," Luce said. It's also calling individuals or organizations looking for participants and offering Corengi's services.

[ To find out which medical apps doctors and patients are turning to, see 9 Mobile Health Apps Worth A Closer Look. ]

Corengi's technology is independent of drug companies, and its underlying directory of trials comes from the federal Clinicaltrials.gov website. Luce says that the location information in clinicaltrials.gov is often incomplete. For instance, it doesn't include all the treatment locations, and for some locations, it may only indicate city and state and not the actual address where the research is happening. "We can both add locations and take existing locations and make them more specific," Luce said.

"We bring in new or changed trials from the federal website every day. And we've built this fairly sophisticated matching engine so that when you put in your information, it's basically looking across all 400 ongoing studies to see which ones you may or may not be qualified for," Luce said.

Through Corengi's home page, patients answer a series of questions about their most recent hemoglobin levels, what drugs they are taking, and where they live. To date, Corengi has had more than 3,000 patients use the search engine, with more than a dozen clients signing up for the service.

Luce says Corengi is appealing to study recruiters because getting patients into clinical trials can be a pricey business, costing pharmaceutical companies $1 million per day of delay, and research sponsors $14 billion each year on recruitment.

Luce said he is also interested in bringing clinicians into the loop by integrating its service with electronic medical records and personal health records, recognizing that patients are managing their health condition by engaging with their health providers.

The 2012 InformationWeek Healthcare IT Priorities Survey finds that grabbing federal incentive dollars and meeting pay-for-performance mandates are the top issues facing IT execs. Find out more in the new, all-digital Time To Deliver issue of InformationWeek Healthcare. (Free registration required.)

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