PatientsLikeMe, the US-based online platform for the exchange of health data, has gone global with the clinical-trial matching tool it launched in the network’s home market last year.

The free tool, unveiled by PatientsLikeMe research director Paul Wicks at the UK National Health Service’s Healthcare Innovation Expo 2013 in London, draws on open data to match patients from around the globe with clinical trials based on their condition and location.

Launched in the summer of 2011 at, the original service included a daily update of all trial information on, the public online registry run by the US National Institutes of Health.

For the global version, explained Patients LikeMe co-founder and chairman Jamie Heywood, “we continue to use data from but have cleaned up the geographical data to make the search effective for those outside the US”.

While anyone can benefit from and access the trial-matching tool, Heywood noted, patients who want to be matched based on old searches, and want PatientsLikeMe to notify them of new and similar opportunities based on previous searches, will need to sign up as members of the online community.

“Open data helps us accelerate the pace of research, and it’s crucial we do everything possible to match patients to trials that might advance treatment and help them live better with their condition,” Wicks commented.