The Accrual to Clinical Trials Network
The Accrual to Clinical Trials (ACT) Network is a nationwide federation of leading academic research institutions that share aggregate patient counts from electronic health record data.
ACT helps clinical investigators conduct cohort discovery before a trial starts, to establish feasibility of a clinical protocol for grant applications, IRB submission, etc. ACT also helps investigators identify additional sites for a clinical trial. By allowing investigators to thoroughly explore patient cohorts and potential sites before finalizing their clinical protocols, ACT increases the odds of successfully completing clinical trial recruitment. To access University of Utah local resources on ACT network.
How to Access ACT
Why Use ACT?
With ACT, researchers can access easy-to-download results for use in funding proposals. Use ACT to demonstrate the feasibility of your clinical study to potential funders.
With ACT, researchers can access easy-to-download results for use in IRB submissions. Use ACT to demonstrate recruitment feasibility for your study to IRB.
With ACT, researchers can explore patient populations in depth and in real time. At the design stage, use ACT to learn about your patient population and iteratively test and refine clinical study parameters.
Cohort Discovery Feasibility
With ACT, researchers can iteratively test and refine inclusion and exclusion criteria. Use ACT to confirm the feasibility of your clinical study.
Under development: ACT will introduce technology to facilitate re-identification of patients for clinical study recruitment, in accordance with each participating institution’s existing IRB protocols.
With ACT, researchers can search patient populations across the CTSA network in a HIPAA-compliant manner from their desktop. Use ACT to identify partners for multi-site studies.
Frequently Asked Questions
ACT provides an approximate count of the number of patients meeting the query criteria. Counts are intentionally approximate (+/-10 for each institution) in order to protect patient confidentiality. So, if you run the same query more than once, you will receive slightly different results each time. Identifiable patient data is never returned.
The accuracy of query results also depends on the accuracy of data mapping at each institution; although the ACT Network uses uniform mapping processes, some variability across institutions may exist.
The ACT Network only shares aggregate patient counts, and never shares (or accesses) patient data. Each site monitors and reports on local usage of the ACT Network to ensure compliance with the ACT Data Use Agreement.
Yes. Part of the ACT implementation process at each site involves applying for approval from the site’s IRB.
It depends on the size and complexity of your query, and on the responsiveness of local ACT sites. Currently, the ACT web client automatically times out requests that take longer than 3 minutes to return results. If your query is timing out, try reducing the number of variables, then adding them back incrementally. You can also set a custom timeout for a shorter duration to reduce wait times.
ACT uses a limited data set and does not currently index text from medical records.
In order to remain in compliance with local IRB procedures, all patient recruitment must occur locally, by local clinical investigators. ACT is currently developing and testing plug-ins to assist in local re-identification of eligible patients.