Clinical trial recruitment is a major challenge in biomedical research. Nearly 80 percent of clinical trials fall short of enrollment timelines, and recruiting patients is costly. But Patient Gateway, an online portal accessed by more than 500,000 patients, offers an opportunity to overcome this challenge, said Joshua Di Frances, Strategy and Innovation project manager for the Innovation Hub and Brigham Research Institute.

Di Frances and his colleagues Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, and Joel Weissman, PhD, have been working to develop a mechanism that will easily allow patients to find out about and enroll in clinical trials through Patient Gateway. Known as Partners HealthCare HOPE (Health Online for Patient Enrichment), the new tool will enable patients to see all current IRB-approved research studies in relevant health areas, request to participate in them and receive health information specific to those areas. Patients will be able to access HOPE through a Quicklink on the Patient Gateway homepage and select “I’m interested” to learn more about specific research studies and access information about certain conditions.

HOPE will begin with research studies in four focused health areas: arthritis, cardiovascular disease, depression and diabetes, a list that will expand in the coming year. An initial roll out is planned for early spring. Clinical investigators are encouraged to add their trials on the HOPE platform by submitting their protocols here. They can also contact Joshua Di Frances with any questions.