As part of ongoing efforts to upgrade the MyUCDavisHealth web portal (formerly called MyChart), a new functionality was recently launched that enables patients to browse research studies currently recruiting volunteers and to set notification preferences. This improves access to an array of opportunities to participate in leading-edge research with the potential to improve health care for our community.

The MyUCDavisHealth web portal and StudyPages (a user-friendly, curated search tool that research teams use to share information and manage volunteers) leverage technology and social media to enhance participation in clinical research – a UC Davis Health leadership priority.

How does it work?

Once logged into MyUCDavisHealth, look to the top navigation bar and hover over “Medical Record” (indicated by an icon that looks like a folder with a heart). Then find the “Research Studies” menu item at the right.

After clicking to the Research Studies page, patients can browse all available, actively recruiting studies (in the sidebar to the right), set their “Research Preferences” to the areas they’re interested in, and indicate their contact options.

If the patient is already enrolled in a UC Davis Health study, that information will appear in a “Studies you are enrolled in” section.

For more details, see the step-by-step instructions and screenshots.

“Making sure that all patients have access to clinical trials is an important goal for the School of Medicine and these new tools will help us improve the ability for patients to find a trial right for them,” said School of Medicine Dean Allison Brashear.

That sentiment was echoed by Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences David Lubarsky, who agreed that expanding the pool of research participants benefits everyone and elevates the potential for discoveries to improve human health.

“It’s essential that we make opportunities to participate in research a central element of our learning health care system,” Lubarsky said.

The integration of this feature is part of a long-term, multi-pronged strategy initiated by the Clinical and Translational Science Center (CTSC) to increase patient awareness and access to clinical research opportunities at UC Davis Health. The initiative started with a workgroup convened at the request of the former CTSC director Lars Berglund in 2015. The resulting proposal outlined several approaches to enhance the visibility and interaction of researchers and patients to enhance recruitment into clinical trials.

Other aspects of the project include the creation of a website to aggregate information about all clinical trials at UC Davis and provide information that educates patients about what it means to participate in clinical research. The website, health.ucdavis.edu/participate, overlays the StudyPages search tool.

“With considerable effort by a dedicated team, the CTSC is proud to enable patients to learn about clinical research opportunities,” said Ted Wun, interim vice dean of research and director of the CTSC.

Kate Marusina, director of the CTSC Clinical Trials Office, said this functionality is an example of strong collaboration with the newly formed EMR research team.

“This is another of many approaches to expand the pool of patients for clinical research, and there’s more to come,” she said.

Also in development are notifications on post-visit reports, information cards for clinics, the ability for study teams to proactively notify patients about studies of potential interest, and community events to further enhance awareness.