By Grace McElroy
Head of Partnerships & Distribution, Antidote
It’s April 25, 2017, and I have the opportunity to participate in CaringKind’s First Annual Technology Fair. The fair took place at CaringKind’s office in Manhattan. Caregivers attended the event to explore new technologies that showcase the benefits and the promise of patient engagement technology.
My display is simple — a table featuring some literature and a laptop set to demonstrate Antidote Match™, the first truly patient-centric clinical trial search tool. Match, which is available free of charge, powers clinical trial search on caringkindnyc.org and a rapidly expanding network of patient communities, health portals, and advocacy group sites.
At Antidote, I help build the network by connecting with mission-driven organizations, like CaringKind, where I work primarily with leadership and staff. On this occasion, this three-day event affords me the chance to get to know the caregivers — those people who both benefit from, and inspire, the work of all the amazing professionals at CaringKind. I am excited and honored for the opportunity.
Al*, a tall man with a friendly smile and a firm handshake, is the first caregiver to approach my table. Al is in his late 70s trying to do anything for his wife who was diagnosed with dementia years ago.
“What do you have here?” Al asks with enthusiasm and anticipation. I tell him that for the first time, using our technology, caregivers can answer a few questions, and within a minute, match to appropriate clinical studies for which their loved one may be eligible.
“Oh,” Al says with noticeable disappointment. “I gave up on searching for clinical trials years ago.” He then shares his personal experience of getting lost, frustrated, and dejected using ClinicalTrials.gov. I tell him that the government site was created solely for researchers and not for patients and caregivers. And then, I show him Antidote Match.
I watch Al as he uses Match. In a minute, after answering just a few questions, Al receives a list of trials. He shakes his head and smiles, “That’s truly amazing,” and adds, “I wish I had your tool years ago.” I want to tell Al that it isn’t too late for his wife to join a trial and leave a legacy that may help her or others in the future. But I don’t. Despite his strength and optimism, I can only imagine how much his physical and emotional capacities are already stretched.
As the event closes, I am overcome by interactions with people like Al and the reception of our product. I share my experience with our team located in New York, London, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Sarasota. I tell them about all the caregivers I met and their positive, and in most cases, thankful, response to Match. It’s virtual high-fives all around by the team when they hear that their hard work is making a difference and serving a purpose.
Antidote is a digital health company on a mission. Our aim is to accelerate the breakthroughs of new treatments by bridging the gap between medical research and the people who need them. In a world where 80% of clinical trials are delayed or closed due to lack of awareness, Antidote uses cutting-edge technology to match the right patients with the right trials, helping medical researchers make faster progress, and offering new treatment options to patients in need. Antidote was launched as TrialReach in 2010, and is based in the US and UK. This is a global effort to advance health care for everyone. To find out how you can help shape medical history, visit http://www.antidote.me.
*Name has been changed
Grace McElroy is passionate about helping patients and caregivers get access to promising new treatments through clinical trials. As Head of Partnerships and Distribution, Grace and the Partnerships team, has brought Antidote’s free, best in-class clinical trials search tool to CaringKind and over 140 partner organizations, to help patients connect to medical research.