TrialX, a New York-based health information technology start-up that uses personal heath records (PHRs) to create an online platform where patients can connect with investigators and enrol in suitable clinical trials, has launched an application on the social messaging utility Twitter.

The new application enables users looking for clinical trials that match their health profile to send TrialX a ‘tweet’ or direct message detailing their specifications, such as “TrialX CT find studies for my father, 62,l with pancreatic cancer in Raleigh area”. The application will then ‘tweet’ back in less than two minutes with a link to a TrialX page listing the matching studies, the company says.

With an estimated 80% of internet users in the US searching for health information online, the web presents a “tremendous opportunity” for patient recruitment outreach, TrialX notes. The TrialX platform is fully integrated with Microsoft HealthVault and Google Health, so patients can import the necessary PHR information from these sources.

One advantage of the Twitter application, TrialX believes, is that other people can discover and learn about clinical studies through exposure to ongoing searches.

“By seeing others use Twitter to find matching clinical trials, we hope to translate the collective tweeting of users as a way to spread greater awareness of clinical trials, which can specially help several people with life-threatening conditions to find new treatments,” the company says.

“For example only 3% of cancer patients participate in trials but surveys have shown that many more would like to participate if only they were aware of trials and had a simple way to access trial information,” it notes.

TrialX is a wholly owned subsidiary of Applied Informatics, Inc. Its operations are based on the core Columbus Clinical Trial Participants Matching Platform.