Epilepsy Action Australia has joined forces with HealthMatch – a clinical trial matching platform, designed to make accessing clinical trials much easier for patients.
HealthMatch is a free service and aims to dramatically accelerate patient recruitment to clinical trials, with the intention to faster progress life-saving medical treatment onto the market.
By employing innovative technology, HealthMatch are able to match patients to clinical trials in a matter of minutes. You have to complete a once-off questionnaire to create your medical profile, which you can do yourself or with the help of your doctor, then your medical data is used to filter your eligible trials. (You can delete your medical profile at any time).
HealthMatch will constantly search for appropriate trials based on your medical profile. As new trials are created, they automatically check them for suitability. When a match has been found, you will be notified. You can then review your options and apply via your HealthMatch trial dashboard. When you have been accepted to a trial, HealthMatch will put you in direct contact with the trial group.
By simplifying the currently complex trial search process, HealthMatch put the metaphorical steering wheel back in the hands of the patient. They don’t just filter trials. They determine actual eligibility.
“At HealthMatch we believe that all patients should have access to every treatment option available to them. This includes clinical trials, which give patients access to new potential cures and medical breakthroughs.
This is why at HealthMatch we have developed a mobile app that allows patients to find clinical trials in the fastest and simplest way possible. A simple tool that matches patients in real-time to clinical trials tailored to their profile.
It’s never been easier to take control of your own health and ensure you have access to the latest advances in medicine.”
What is a Clinical Trial?
A clinical trial is a scientific study, or an organised test of medication and new treatment options involving patient and healthy volunteers. Clinical trials confirm whether medicines are safe and effective to introduce as new treatments for a particular disease or condition.
Clinical trials may also be used to determine whether an existing medicine can be safely and effectively used for other diseases and/or conditions.
Who runs a clinical trial?
Each clinical trial is led by a doctor. The clinical trial team includes doctors and nurses as well as pharmacists and other health care professionals. The clinical trial team are responsible for checking the health of the participants at the beginning of the trial, monitoring them during the trial, and staying in touch with them for a period of time after the clinical trial has been completed.
Why be part of a clinical trial?
New interventions that help people to live longer, have less pain or be free of disability are only possible because of the willingness of people to be involved in clinical trials. Both healthy people and those diagnosed with a disease or condition are needed to help find new ways to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure disease and disability.
By taking part in a clinical trial, you can contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge and, in some cases, to improved health for yourself or others with the same disease or condition.
Australia conducts internationally recognised high-quality clinical trials. Australian clinical researchers have a wealth of knowledge and expertise that is helping to improve health care both in Australia and around the world. Clinical research also improves our health care service by improving patient care practices.
Like any volunteer work, clinical trials can also be a way to give back to the community.
People with epilepsy may decide to participate in clinical trials to contribute to better understanding of, or better treatment or a potential cure for epilepsy. In some cases, clinical trials can provide access to new interventions before they are widely available.
Trials also offer the hope of developing better interventions or tests for a particular disease or condition, so that even if a trial does not provide a benefit for you, it may provide benefits for others in the future.
As a patient participant, even when you receive the highest quality care, you may also benefit from additional support and attention provided by clinical trial staff who understand your disease or condition.
There are a number of possible advantages of participating in clinical trials. These can include:
- Gaining early access to new medicines not otherwise available;
- Obtaining the clinical trial medicine at no cost, at least during the trial;
- Receiving extensive medical care associated with the clinical trial; and
- Contributing to the development of future life-saving or life-enhancing treatments.
Participation in clinical trials is not, however, without its downsides. For example:
- There may be side effects from the trial medicine;
- The trial medicine may not work;
- You may be placed in the control or reference group and not receiving the trial medicine until after the clinical trial has finished; and
- You may need to visit the hospital or doctor’s room more frequently or stay there longer.
Are all clinical trials the same?
There are four different types of clinical trials, each one associated with a different phase in the development of a new medicine or treatment:
- Phase I clinical trials involve the first administration of the medicine to humans, usually to small numbers of healthy volunteers. Phase I clinical trials determine the safety of the medicine, how it works and how well it is tolerated. These clinical trials also identify preferred routes of administration (eg. tablet, liquid or injection) and help determine the appropriate doses for later studies.
- Phase II clinical trials are normally the first trials of the medicine in patients suffering from the condition for which the medicine is intended. The principal aim of these clinical trials is to determine effectiveness and safety. These clinical trials are undertaken in a small number of closely supervised patients and conducted by researchers regarded as specialists in the particular disease or condition and its treatment.
- Phase III clinical trials involve greater numbers of patients and are undertaken for the purpose of determining whether the medicine gives clinical benefit in the disease/s for which effectiveness was demonstrated in Phase II clinical trials. They also determine the nature and likelihood of any side effects. Phase III clinical trials are undertaken if the Phase II clinical trials indicate the medicine has potential benefit that outweighs the hazards.
- Phase IV clinical trials are those clinical trials undertaken after the medicine has been approved for treatment of a particular disease. Phase IV clinical trials are undertaken to compare a new medicine to a wider range of existing medicines/therapies. Such clinical trials are used to establish where, in the range of treatment options, the new medicine is best used.
- Phase IV clinical trials are also undertaken to further investigate the use of the medicine in the normal clinical setting of the disease, as this may differ quite markedly from the conditions under which the other clinical trials were conducted. This includes post marketing surveillance studies.
Register your interest as a participant in future clinical trials with Health Match and read more here