Faster cures for more diseases. That sounds like a good thing, right? Clinical trials are often where a new drug or treatment meet success or failure as rigorous tests are done to ensure efficacy and measure side effects. Filling clinical trials with appropriate test subjects is a lengthy and expensive process but these trials are required before a meditation can be sold to consumers.
Hmm, sounds like a matching problem: how do we get the right trials in front of eligible subjects?
A few years back I was really pleased to discover that the US National Institute of Health maintains clinicaltrials.gov as a clearinghouse of federally funded and private trials. Today they have more than 112,000 trials listed in 175 countries. Wow, that’s a lot of trials just waiting to be filled in order to judge whether or not it’s a successful treatment protocol. Imagine if we could just fill these trials 50% faster – would that lead to more rapid success and failure discovery for pre-release drugs? And ultimately cures?
This is the question I asked myself while also wondering how Google Health could play a role in connecting eligible subjects with the appropriate test. Turned out it was really just some best practice work with the ClinicalTrials team to try and ensure Google was properly crawling and ranking the test information in our search index.
While that was a positive first step I think there’s room to better connect people with this data. Where is our Hipmunk for clinical trials? A beautiful intuitive interface to this valuable data. They have a XML API so it’s all waiting for you. You could be the developer who helps to speed the path to the next big cure – maybe you can help solve a disease that impacts, or has even taken the life of, someone you know and love.