In early February 2012, a large trophy arrived at the CTSI Directors’ Office, proclaiming us the inaugural winners of the MatchMaestro Trophy (see photo). The UR-CTSI was identified as the institution that enrolled the most research volunteers in studies from September 15, 2011 to December 31, 2011 through the use of ResearchMatch as a recruitment tool. On that basis, UR-CTSI was named the reigning MatchMaestro for the National CTSA Consortium. Nancy Needler, Research Subject Advocate in the UR-CTSI Office of Regulatory Support who has coordinated our ResearchMatch efforts, explained: “The Rochester CTSA Program won the award for this initial period of competition by enrolling 162 volunteers into studies, surpassing all the other 59 CTSA Programs, many which have larger numbers of research studies. The trophy is engraved with the UR-CTSI’s name and will stay with us for the first quarter of 2012, when that quarter’s results will be tallied and the next quarter’s MatchMaestro will be identified. We hope to keep the trophy by winning again and again.”
ResearchMatch is a free, nationwide, web-based matching tool which is not-for-profit. It is administered by Vanderbilt University with the support of funds from the National Institutes of Health. As an electronic volunteer recruitment registry, ResearchMatch allows people from anywhere in the U.S. to self-register and express an interest in being considered for participation in research studies. Researchers register their IRB-approved studies and can search for volunteers based on criteria important for their study. The database provides information about those volunteers to researchers who are looking for people to participate in their studies, while protecting the privacy of volunteers. ResearchMatch then “matches” the volunteer to a study’s inclusion/exclusion criteria and provides an e-mail link so that the investigator can send an IRB-approved recruitment message to potential volunteers, securely. The volunteer can then choose to be contacted by the investigator, triggering ResearchMatch to provide the investigator with the volunteer’s authorized contact information. All operations of ResearchMatch are IRB-approved.
The UR-CTSI ResearchMatch Program, led by Nancy Needler and the UR-CTSI’s Office of Regulatory Support, has been one of the most active since the tool’s inception in 2010, both in signing up volunteers to be in the ResearchMatch database as well as contacting potential research subjects. Through UR-CTSI staff efforts, there are 692 ResearchMatch volunteers residing within 50 miles of UR. Through use of RM, 8,888 national matches between UR research opportunities and potential volunteers have yielded 2,066 agreements to be contacted for a specific study. The UR-CTSI has 40 investigators with active profiles in the RM system and, as of January 2012, we have 11 studies actively recruiting volunteers.
Two investigators actively using ResearchMatch were contacted to describe their experiences. Ann Dozier, RN, PhD, Associate Professor of Public Health Sciences has used ResearchMatch to recruit over 50 patients in a national survey about the experience of being a research participant. Subjects were initially recruited by mail and face-to-face contact, with disappointing results. “We used ResearchMatch to supplement these other efforts. Once approved by the IRB and processed through ResearchMatch over a 2-3 week period, we recruited more interested and eligible individuals than we had done through all of our prior efforts, doubling our total enrollment.” James Dolan, MD, Associate Professor in Public Health Sciences is developing an internet-based clinical decision support tool to help people make decisions about primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The MatchMaestro was awarded to UR heavily based on the enrollment of Dr. Dolan’s matched research volunteers. “We have been using ResearchMatch to recruit volunteers to help us develop the internet interface we will use for the final product.” Over 570 subjects have been enrolled!
Please come into the UR-CTSI Directors’ Suite to view the trophy. We expect to keep it there for quite a while. The trophy for our recruitment team’s national leadership in recruitment added some levity to our mid-winter labor, but also validated our enthusiasm for helping our investigators perform research studies better, larger, and faster with the ResearchMatch tool. That’s something to really be proud about.
Congratulations again to Nancy Needler, Lauren Farberman, Eric Rubinstein, and the Office of Regulatory Support, as well as the individual investigators who use ResearchMatch.
T.A. Pearson, MD, MPH, PhD