Startup Offers New Take on Recruitment


Applied Clinical Trials

Applied Clinical TrialsApplied Clinical Trials-04-01-2012
Volume 21
Issue 4

A new service is launching at the end of the month that should help make recruitment easier.

Finding trial subjects is one the most important and often frustrating aspects of trial design—without participants there can be no trial. A new service is launching at the end of the month that should help make recruitment a little bit easier. has entered into an agreement with the extremely popular website WebMD to be the exclusive clinical trial finding service offered on the site. Evan Brett, CEO and Founder of, recently spoke with Applied Clinical Trials about the pending launch of the service.

Evan Brett is the CEO and Founder of

Where did the idea for the service come from?

I approached WebMD with this idea. WebMD has very little content about clinical research on it. It is a website that has over 92 million users. Every square inch of the site is monetized in some way but it wasn't capitalizing on the clinical research market. I thought it would help the user experience if the trial advertisement came from a mainstream publisher—leveraging the reliability and trust factor of WebMD. Forget about the traffic—the traffic is great for business—but for the user it is the trust factor that is most important.

I am excited about presenting clinical research in a mainstream medium. For as long as I have been in the industry, almost 20 years, clinical trials have only been promoted in the clinical research sphere. I've always said "only we know about it" not much is pushed out to the public.

How will the service work?

When someone does a disease search our widget will appear adjacent to it. For instance if they searched for depression, there would be a call out on the side saying "find a clinical trial for depression." The user enters their zip code and the software searches exclusively in their area for the disease condition.

The service is geo-targeted, so we can avoid disappointment. The problem with clinical trial advertising is the very high not-interested rate. I wanted to make sure the user experience was not disappointing and was super easy. I kept my 71-year-old father in mind—what type of experience could he actually get through. I made it as simple and non-distracting as possible.

Once the user selects a study it brings you to for data collection. That is where the WebMD experience ends. The color scheme of our site is nearly identical to WebMD to make the transition simple. The widget can also link to an advertiser's own site for data collection, but my preference is to have consistency.

If a user qualifies, their information is forwarded to the research site. If they fail to qualify they do have the option to have us contact them in the future if another relevant study comes up.

My goal is not to build a database that can be resold and repurposed. We want to connect people to a research study at that moment.

In terms of the simplicity of this, I did not want to have a registration component where the user has to make a username and password. That would ruin/eliminate the experience with my father. With our service you find out that you qualify before you are asked to enter any personal information, so you know what you are signing up for.

What are the advantages for the sites? Why would they chose to use your service?

Advertising on WebMD is costly. It gets only about 20 banner campaigns for research studies a year. We are giving access to WebMD to companies that could not afford to advertise there otherwise. If you have a banner ad, you are just an advertiser, however, if you are presenting the information on WebMD itself it changes the experience.

The software checks to make sure that all of the referrals sent to the sites are legitimate. My model is selling qualified referrals. We need to alleviate any concerns about the legitimacy of the info. The personal contact information is checked against the credit bureau Experian to authenticate—if the information is not authentic it does not go to the site.

We spared no expense with security. We have double physical firewalls, our servers are protected off site, and we are privacy certified.

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