TrialX.org is an fantastic example of how the web enables linking specific demand with relevant supply. The services matches users (patients, affected individuals) to ongoing clinical trials using their submitted personal health information.
What a great startup idea. Service demand can be tapped easily since users are searching the web for highly specific keywords (almost all include the keyword “trials”, so bit of SEO and keyword advertising would direct the traffic effectively). Other sources are the rapidly growing PHR platforms like Google Health and Microsoft Healthvault- both encourage developers to write apps that provide such value-added services based on user’s health information. Supply is readily available on ClinicalTrials.gov, a government-sponsored online public registry of clinical trials in US.
TrialX.org is completely free for users (patients). They let investigators create free accounts to post their trial information directly, but charge a fee for providing access to the interested potential trial enrollee. It’s hard for trial investigators to find eligible patients who are motivated to stick around for the complete trial. TrialX solves both the problems for them.
Imagine the possibilities if this service gets integrated into CIS vendor products. A patient coming in for advanced breast cancer treatment can be flagged right at admission and be given the option to enroll in an experimental drug trial right then, if they so choose. If nothing else, it’ll give the medical research community a much more real-time opportunity to advance the science.
September 2010 Update: Just read about another startup in the same space- MyTrus. They have little information on their website, so not much to discuss at this time.