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60 seconds with...Dr Wai Keong Wong

This month we caught up with Dr Wai Keong Wong, consultant haematologist and Chief Research Information Officer at UCLH, to find out about Find a Study, UCLH’s new trials database which will be launched publicly at the UCLH / UCL Research Open Day on 4 July.

What is Find a Study?

Find a Study is our new trials discovery database at UCLH which clinicians can use to suggest suitable clinical trials to their patients, and which patients and the public can search. And importantly, clinicians can also point colleagues at other hospital Trusts to Find a Study – instead of having to answer multiple phone calls and e-mails about what research is happening at UCLH.

It uses the Keytrials platform I developed alongside colleagues from the UCLH Clinical Research Informatics Unit, with the aim of improving study recruitment and awareness of clinical trials at UCLH.

Unlike other trial databases, it has been built with clinical IT design principles in mind, meaning it can be integrated with other clinical systems such as Epic (the first time a trials database has been linked up with electronic health records).

How will the platform support study recruitment and improve awareness of research?

First, as the system will link up with Epic, clinicians and patients – who now use Epic routinely – are more likely to access the platform compared with the old system (the Research Gateway), which was a standalone database.

Second, Find a Study is more user-friendly than the old system. Once in Find a Study, you are just one mouse-click or screen tap away from seeing all studies at UCLH, or all studies filtered by disease.

Third, Find a Study allows you to search for studies using very refined criteria – not currently possible with other trial databases – making it easy to find studies most suited to each patient.

More is planned in future too. We will be rolling out a mobile app soon to improve accessibility even further. And later we hope to develop an ‘auto-matching’ system where Find a Study will automatically suggest which studies a patient is suitable for.

What do clinicians need to do ahead of the launch on 4 July?

We encourage all clinicians to visit Find a Study and play around with the system to get used to it. It’s really simple to use and no training is necessary – we’re confident staff will feel comfortable with how the system works within minutes.

We also need researchers to help make sure study information on Find a Study is correct. Find a Study pulls information from Edge – the trial management system we use at UCLH – so we need researchers to visit Edge, search for their studies and make sure their study information is correct in time for 4 July. If you need any help with this please contact uclh.research@nhs.net.

Is there anything else clinicians should know?

We want to continually refine and improve the platform, so that clinicians are able to use it exactly as they wish – so we would be happy to hear from clinicians and research staff on how we can improve the platform, either in terms of user experience or the more technical aspects. Anyone who would like to offer feedback can contact Dr Ruth Agbakoba, the Engagement Lead for Find a Study, at FindAStudy.uclh@nhs.net.