Web tool to match sponsors to trial sites in low-income countries

By Fiona BARRY

- Last updated on GMT

The SiteFinder tool can connect sponsors with far-flung research sites. (Picture: Kevin Hale/Flickr)
The SiteFinder tool can connect sponsors with far-flung research sites. (Picture: Kevin Hale/Flickr)

Related tags Research

A free online tool could help trial sponsors with the “incredibly difficult” task of finding study sites in developing regions.

The Global Health Network, a website for health researchers to share expertise, has launched the open-access SiteFinder platform​, allowing clinical investigators to search by disease area and location to find sites in low and middle-income countries (LMIC).

It works a little like a directory of LMIC research sites, but more interactive,​” Tamzin Furtado, Project Manager, The Global Health Network, told Outsourcing-Pharma.com.

You can add a potential study, and all the sites relevant to your potential locations and disease areas will be automatically notified and can contact you if they’d like to get involved. You can manage your studies in your profile, seeing a list of all the potentially interested sites.

Sites manage their own information on SiteFinder and can add all sorts of useful documents including audit reports, video introductions, etc.​”

The project currently has 111 research sites listed worldwide, from birth centres in Mexico City to public health institutes in West Africa, and Pakistan’s Aga Khan University.

Furtado said the impetus for the project came from parties on both sides of clinical trials. “The sites are keen to find collaborators, and we’ve heard from many sponsors that it’s tough finding new sites in LMIC settings, hence [we] developed this.​”

Do-it-yourself trial kit

The Global Health Network calls itself an “online science park​” that allows researchers to co-operate without geographical, institutional or financial barriers. Projects include open peer collaboration to develop research protocols and gain technical expertise.

Another of its research tools is a Global Health Research Process Map,​ a digital toolkit guiding trial staff through every step of clinical trials.

The sharing of research methods allows researchers to learn from the experiences of previous studies and saves time and raises standards,​” said the organisation.

The map is also intended to help health workers without trial-running experience to perform research.

Undertaking research can be a daunting prospect for health workers with no research skills, and little if any access to training and support. The effects of this problem are increased when considering the importance of enabling locally-led research in order to tackle local and national health priorities,​” said the Global Health Network.

Development of better and more local research is vital in LMICs, it said, since less than 10% of health research funding worldwide is spent on conditions that make up 90% of the global health burden.

Related topics Clinical Development

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