E-Alert System Can Boost Clinical Trial Participation

Electronic health record alerts remind physicians to enroll eligible patients

TUESDAY, Oct. 25 (HealthDay News) -- The use of an electronic health record-based clinical trial alert (CTA) system could be a much-needed solution to the common problem of inadequate trial recruitment, according to a study in the Oct. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

After 12 months of using traditional recruitment to conduct a clinical trial, Peter J. Embi, M.D., of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, and colleagues activated their electronic health record (EHR) system in several outpatient clinics at The Cleveland Clinic. If a patient's EHR data met specific trial criteria, the CTA urged the 114 physicians in the study to consider the patient's eligibility and helped alert the trial coordinator.

The researchers found that the CTA provoked "significant increases" in numbers of physician referrals (five before versus 42 after), and in patient enrollments (five before versus 11 after). Physician referral rates were 10 times higher (5.7 a month before versus 59.5 a month after).

"Use of an EHR-based CTA led to significant increases in physicians' participation in and recruitment rates to an ongoing clinical trial," the authors write.

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