Today’s video and Q&A features our second finalist in the 2013 Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) BRIght Futures Prize competition, a research project from Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, and Joel Weissman, PhD.

Power to the Patient (Video)

Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, Division of Rheumatology
Joel Weissman, PhD, Center for Surgery and Public Health

What is your research project about?

Medical breakthroughs, such as vaccines, pacemakers, and X-rays, have changed the world. None of these advances could have happened without research.

Now, imagine that promising treatments could not be adequately tested because researchers were unable to recruit enough participants for clinical trials. This scenario is not so far-fetched. In fact, nearly 80 percent of clinical trials fail to recruit enough participants in time to meet enrollment deadlines. There are currently nearly 400 active clinical trials at BWH, and some researchers will likely end up stopping their studies due to recruitment difficulties.

A main barrier is the extensive process that researchers need to go through to recruit patients. Additionally, most patients lack knowledge or understanding of clinical trials and do not know how to get involved in trials relevant to them.

Our project will streamline the recruitment process by eliminating these barriers and better informing and empowering patients to be more proactive about their health. We will develop “B-HOPE,” which stands for Brigham Health Online for Patient Enrichment. The online portal will allow BWH patients to join health communities through Patient Gateway – the hospital’s electronic communication link between doctors and their patients.

Each online community will focus on a specific disease area, such as diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease. Within these communities, patients will get reliable health information about their condition and treatment options, and will be able to learn about and enroll in relevant clinical trials. Patients will also have opportunities to interact with BWH physicians and researchers through webinars and Q&A sessions. With B-HOPE, researchers will be able to survey patients online and recruit them for clinical trials through a secure system.

What makes your project unique?

Patients want to be part of their health care community, and we are giving them the opportunity to do just that. B-HOPE will help patients and researchers work together to better understand and treat many conditions and diseases.

How will your research project benefit people?

There are many treatment options out there. Not having clear, unbiased information causes confusion about which treatment is best for you or your loved one. The educational resources within B-HOPE will help patients better understand their conditions and treatment options. This project will also bridge the gap between patients and their care providers by helping patients play a more active role in the research process.

Also, by eliminating the barriers to clinical trial recruitment, B-HOPE will create a platform that allows our researchers to more successfully study diseases and be at the forefront of discoveries that will shape the future of medicine for all patients.


Everyone – BWH faculty, staff, and members of the public – is encouraged to vote for their favorite research project by visiting Polls are open now and will remain open until 1 p.m. on November 21. The BWH Biomedical Research Institute (BRI) will award a $100,000 philanthropic prize during closing ceremonies at BWH Research Day on November 21 to support the winner’s innovative research.

Tomorrow’s video and Q&A will feature our third and final finalist in the 2013 BRIght Futures Prize competition, a proposed research project from Bohdan Pomahac, MD, and Jeffrey Karp, PhD.

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