4 June 2024

Double award nomination for pioneering trial tracker matching patients into vital health and care research

A pioneering trial tracker developed by research nurses and computer scientists at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to rapidly assess if patients are suitable to join research studies has received two nominations in this week’s HSJ Digital Awards.

The technology, which uses bespoke algorithms to automatically match information about a patient’s condition to research studies that they could join, is a nominee in the Improving Back-Office Efficiencies through Digital and Driving Change through AI and Automation categories.

Research nurses are already using the tool with patients who have had a stroke.

The tool has also helped free research nurses to spend more dedicated time supporting patients who want more information about joining research trials or what participation may involve. This is because they now spend an average of one hour a week compared to six inputting data into handwritten screening logs. The trial tracker also avoids duplication of effort, with patients no longer approached several times by different team members to take part in research.

The tool was developed with the support of the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre, and is now being expanded to other clinical areas within Sheffield’s five adult hospitals and community services.

The HSJ Digital Awards celebrate the most effective digital innovations across the NHS and how they can be scaled and spread for the benefit of patients.

Emma Richards, Senior Stroke Research Sister for Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Digital innovations have an important role to play in improving future healthcare, so we are delighted that our innovative trial tracker is a finalist in two HSJ Digital Awards. This double award nomination is a fantastic endorsement of the collaborative work between our clinical research nursing and clinical research scientific teams. It also highlights how modern technologies can be used to improve processes that can support patients to make choices about taking part in research.”

The winners of the HSJ Digital Awards are to be announced at an award ceremony in Manchester on the 6 June.


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