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Epic launches data-driven clinical trial matchmaking in its EHR

To improve how patients, providers and research sponsors connect, Epic’s new Life Sciences program is designed to expand clinical trial access to more patients and better support the development of new research.

The current disparate systems used for clinical studies can be tedious for patients and providers, according to Epic’s announcement.

Epic is testing the new data-driven program, which will initially focus on clinical trial matching, to better recruit participants and speed up the development of new therapies. Those physicians who sign up will receive purpose-built Cosmos database searches to validate trials.

Automating the data flow in the EHR and eliminating duplicative workflows through a unified system can help lower the technical and staffing barriers to study activation, says Epic.

“Unifying clinical research with care delivery and building a direct connection to study sponsors will help accelerate the development of new therapies by making studies more efficient, more accessible and more effective,” Alan Hutchison, vice president at Epic, said in the statement.

Epic providers conduct more than 100,000 research studies involving 4.7 million patients.

The program can offer point-of-care insights into when patients might qualify for a clinical trial. 

More effective recruiting can also help ensure that clinical trials benefit more representative populations, Seth Howard, vice president of research and development at Epic, explained in the announcement.

Providers and life sciences groups interested in study feasibility and clinical trial matchmaking can contact [email protected] to learn more.

In an interview this past March, Dr. Jackie Gerhart, a physician at Epic who works in clinical informatics, told Healthcare IT News that Cosmos, the database engine behind the new Life Sciences program within Epic, contained 140 million patient records and 2.2 billion clinician visits at the time.

The system requires contribution in order to use the data, giving physicians the option to participate. Participating providers can perform queries with the de-identified patient data.

According to Gerhart, Epic is working to integrate a Best Care for My Patient display for late 2023 that can help clinicians shape patient care on an individual level. The tool will allow doctors to search relevant Cosmos data at the point of care by searching patient health criteria against the data.

Physicians would then be able to see how others that match the criteria were treated and what the outcomes were for them.

Data-driven tools are being created by many companies to improve the EHR experience and reduce clinician burnout, according to EHR usability experts including Gerhart.

“In the future, Cosmos will help clinicians make key clinical decisions – such as which medication to prescribe or whether to perform surgery – by looking at the millions of patients and interactions in Cosmos and showing what’s worked best for similar patients,” she said. 

“Ultimately, our shared goal is to help patients access life-changing therapies sooner by reducing friction throughout the clinical trial lifecycle,” Epic’s Seth Howard said in announcing the program.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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