Software | 14 May 2019
Written by Manuri Gunawardena
Being prescribed a medication is something we are all too familiar with. What we usually forget is the journey that it takes for medication to reach the shelves.
That’s the average time and cost to bring a new drug to market. It’s an important journey that insures our medicines are safe through rigorous testing and validation. At the same time, it’s fraught with risk, with only 5 out of every 25,000 compounds ever becoming approved.
Technology has played a fundamental role in advancing healthcare, whether through primary care techniques or the development of new drugs. Today we are witnessing machine learning and artificial intelligence used in theoretical simulations to assist scientists identify the next promising molecules. Our ability to leverage increased computational power and scientific knowledge has fundamentally redefined the pace at which we can discover new treatments.
But why, when we have made such strong advancements, does drug development still lag? Whilst the past six decades have seen incredible advancements in biotechnology and healthcare, the efficiency of drug R&D has actually reduced. Since 1950, the number of drugs approved has fallen 80-fold per 1 billion US dollars (adjusted for inflation).
The reality is, for all new therapies and all the advances we make in developing them, they must be tested and here lies one of the largest blockages to providing faster access to billions of people; Clinical Trial Recruitment.
Healthcare is a cottage industry, it is rapidly changing and evolving, with patients now driving for change and taking control of their health outcomes. Yet the industry remains highly segmented. This creates a huge problem in clinical trial recruitment where significant sample sizes of the population suffering from certain diseases must participate in trials to show both efficacy and safety of treatment.
Patient interest is not the problem. For many patients, suffering from many severe conditions, a clinical trial may be the only potential therapy available that has a chance to either fight or cure their disease.
Patient recruitment has two fundamental problems.
Complex medical protocols and poorly designed registries create a real struggle to identify potential trials and decipher criteria to determine patient eligibility.
Access and visibility for the patient. The fundamental truth is no one cares more about your own health than you. Providing user friendly access may be the most powerful push in developing new treatments.
HealthMatch’s goal is to dramatically accelerate the recruitment process, allowing for faster and more efficient access to life-saving medication. By employing innovative technology, we are able to both translate unstructured clinical criteria and match patients to trials in a matter of minutes.
Our mission will always be about putting the patient first. That’s why we present users with simplified questions, one at a time, in a language that patients can understand. Our software not only increases the likelihood of users being offered one or many trials for which they have been screened as medically eligible but also dramatically increases trial operational efficiency.
We value that this process is deeply personal and deals with the most intimate aspects of a patient’s life. For that reason, we provide a wide range of support to help guide patients through the matching process. This allows our users to feel supported and empowered in seeking more options and supporting clinical research.
At the core of our company, our “why” is to always have the patients at the centre of everything we do. A truly patient centric approach is fundamental in our ability to provide greater access to clinical trials. By simplifying the currently complex trial search process, we empower and enable patients by putting the metaphorical steering wheel back in their hands. This is important. It allows patients to take control of their health. It makes trials more effective.
We don’t judge our success on financial gain. Our metric for success is based on every single match we make, every patient we place and the profound impact on the life of that individual and their family. That’s why our platform is free for users. We stick to this by being incredibly transparent and by not prioritising any clinical trials over others. This levelled approach allows for the best outcomes for the patient and medical research.
Each and everyone of us are beneficiaries of medical research. HealthMatch’s mission is to play a crucial part in reducing the cost of clinical trials and ultimately creating better outcomes for patients, researchers and the world.