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ResearchMatch: An online platform to connect volunteers and clinical researchers
Upper Lobby
ResearchMatch: An online platform to connect volunteers and clinical researchers
ResearchMatch.org
PurposeMembers of minority groups, women, rural populations, and the elderly are often underrepresented in clinical research due to a number of barriers. ResearchMatch (researchmatch.org) is a CTSA developed... Read more

Description

Purpose
Members of minority groups, women, rural populations, and the elderly are often underrepresented in clinical research due to a number of barriers. ResearchMatch (researchmatch.org) is a CTSA developed tool that aims to remove these barriers through partnerships with researchers and advocacy groups to increase patient engagement and access to information. ResearchMatch is a disease-neutral, institution-neutral, online volunteer recruitment and engagement platform, available at no cost that matches individuals interested in research participation with researchers looking for volunteers.

Volunteer functions include:

  • Search Modal- search for conditions, obtain links to partnering organizations, educational sources, and view aggregate data on others with same conditions
  • Volunteer Dashboard- provide feedback on experiences
  • Network Page-search institutions and advocacy organizations
  • Tell a friend
  • Trial Finder- access to ClinicalTrials.gov via user friendly questions

Researcher functions include:

  • Advanced searches- filter registry by geographic, demographic, twin, veteran, smoking status, and medication use and health conditions
  • Rapid survey capability
  • Random selection tool- reduce selection bias
  • Hypothesis Generator- provides aggregate data on a specified sub-set
  • Feasibility Search- search for a cohort, and save search for later recruitment
  • Pre-screening surveys
  • Condition Connections- predetermined question set designed to increase the precision and prescreening process for matching volunteers and research teams

Additional tools for volunteer engagement:

  • Patient advocacy organizations- partnerships with disease advocacy organizations and community researchers expand a project’s reach to local and national stakeholders
  • Social media engagement
  • Return of results- links to published studies on site and social media with a synopsis of the article in lay language
  • Bi-monthly newsletter- using Constant Contact

Results
The system currently supports >90,000 volunteers, >3,500 researchers, and 117 institutions all working together to streamline the recruitment process and speed the process of discovery for translational research. Approximately 11% of the volunteers are African American, 4.4% are multi-racial and 7% are of Hispanic or Latino ethnicity. 99% of the volunteers have been contacted with a study opportunity; of those 60% say they are interested in learning more. To date ResearchMatch has proven an effective tool for study enrollment across a diverse field of populations and therapeutic areas.

Conclusion
ResearchMatch fulfills unmet needs of multiple stakeholders, namely underserved and minority populations. ResearchMatch can be leveraged to provide services beyond study recruitment. This will help multiple diverse populations obtain access to researchers and clinical trials with the overall goal of increased education, awareness and access to biomedical research initiatives.

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