Hospital System Taps AI to Boost Enrollment Rates

Health Quest Systems Deploying IBM Watson for Clinical Trial Matching

Health Quest Systems Inc. (HQS), a four-hospital health system operating in New York’s Hudson Valley and northwest Connecticut, is betting big on artificial intelligence (AI) as a way to boost stubbornly low enrollment rates in some clinical trials. HQS announced today (March 21) it will deploy IBM Watson for Clinical Trial Matching, a cognitive computing system that matches patients to clinical trials for which they may be eligible, throughout its hospitals.

IBM’s technology is designed to help clinicians and coordinators more easily and quickly identify trials and potentially eligible patients, enabling healthcare providers and patients to consider appropriate ones as part of a care plan. The solution eliminates the need to manually compare enrollment criteria with patient medical data, making it possible to efficiently identify an individual’s potential trial options and provide access to novel cancer care treatments.

One academic medical center found that in the first 18 months after implementation, there was on average an 84% increase in enrollment to its systemic therapy clinical trials for breast cancer (from 3.5 patients/month to 6.4 patients/month). The time to screen an individual patient for clinical trial matches also fell when compared to traditional manual methods.

Additionally, in a study with the Highlands Oncology Group and Novartis, use of IBM Watson for Clinical Trial Matching successfully cut the time to screen patients for trial eligibility by 78%, reducing processing time from 1 hour and 50 minutes to 24 minutes.

Author: Michael Causey