uMed helps researchers move closer to understanding Parkinson’s risk factors

uMed helps Queen Mary University of London and University College London move closer to understanding Parkinson’s risk factors as first-of-its-kind study exceeds 10,000 participant milestone

  • PREDICT-PD a joint study between Queen Mary University of London and University College London (UCL), and funded by Parkinson’s UK, has met its goal of enrolling more than 10,000 participants.
  • The research project, which identifies and engages people aged between 60 and 80 years old who did not have Parkinson’s, aims to identify those at high risk of the disease before symptoms appear.
  • uMed enrolled over 7,000 eligible participants through its network of 500 primary care group providers in the UK, and increased monthly enrollment by 275%.
  • Over one in 10 patients invited by uMed consented to participate, compared to the industry average patient consent rate of 3% for clinical research.
  • uMed’s involvement also led to the enrollment of a larger population of patients from ethnic minority groups, increasing diversity from ~3% to ~10% of the study’s total cohort.

LONDON, 14 February 2024: PREDICT-PD a groundbreaking research project, which aims to identify people at higher risk of Parkinson’s disease or before the symptoms appear, has exceeded its milestone of 10,000 participants.

uMed, the health and research technology company that has supported PREDICT-PD since March 2020, played a crucial role in expanding the study’s participant base through its network of over 500 primary care provider groups representing five million patients in the UK. It achieved this by linking aggregated health record data to pre-screen eligible participants, meaning it was able to rapidly engage 36,269 patients via text message on behalf of the patients’ healthcare providers, without imposing any additional workload.

By making the study accessible to a wider population and engaging only suitable patients, uMed has recruited over 7,000 participants to PREDICT-PD, increasing monthly enrollment by a staggering 275%. Over one in 10 patients invited by uMed on behalf of their recognised healthcare provider consented to participate in the study, which is a significant achievement given that only 2% of the population in England participates in clinical trials each year, underscoring uMed’s ability to engage a larger portion of the UK population in vital clinical research.

Professor Alastair Noyce, Consultant Neurologist and Researcher at Queen Mary University of London’s Wolfson Institute of Population Health, comments: “Our study was one of the first to focus on the earliest phases of Parkinson’s, offering critical insights into this stage of the disease, and recruitment has progressed at a pace we never expected. We are another step closer to understanding who in the general population might be more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s and expedite the discovery of improved treatments and, ultimately, a cure for this debilitating condition.

“The success of the PREDICT-PD study demonstrates the impact of leveraging technology and the use of health record data to accelerate research. uMed’s ability to rapidly identify large populations of eligible participants using EHR, combined with automated communication sent on behalf of the patient’s healthcare provider, has meant we’ve seen a significant increase and speed in enrollment each month since working with them.”

Dr Katherine Fletcher, Research Communications Lead at Parkinson’s UK, comments: “This is one of several ground-breaking studies Parkinson’s UK is proud to be funding and we are delighted that there’s been such a positive take-up in research participation for PREDICT-PD.”

“We know Parkinson’s doesn’t discriminate. It is vital that research is representative of the whole Parkinson’s community, something that currently is not the case. Having a wider pool of the UK population involved in clinical trials means we can ultimately learn more about the progression of Parkinson’s, speed up diagnosis and access to new and better treatments for all.”

Notably, uMed’s involvement has led to the enrollment of a large population of patients from ethnic minorities, increasing diversity of the study’s total cohort from 3% to 10%. Its technology enabled participating healthcare providers to move away from standardised patient outreach to individually tailor communications. By using Electronic Health Records (EHR) to segment cohorts into different subgroups, eligible patients could be targeted with bespoke messages or visuals, increasing participation of underrepresented groups.

Ethnic diversity is a vital issue in Parkinson’s research however people from minority backgrounds continue to be underrepresented. The large majority of UK participants are affluent, well-educated and white. This is currently reflected in research not only in the UK but across Europe and North America It means understanding the genetic basis, environmental risk factors, clinical manifestations and response to treatment is heavily biased, as described in Ethnic Variation in the Manifestation of Parkinson’s Disease, a paper co-authored by Professor Alastair Noyce.

Dr Matt Wilson, uMed’s founder and CEO, adds: “Despite a step change in awareness on the need for diverse participants, clinical trials in western health systems fail to reflect real world diversity. Particularly, there is limited evidence on the risk factors of Parkinson’s in Black, Asian and Hispanic populations but PREDICT-PD has clearly increased ethnic diversity and therefore the generalisability of its findings for the general UK population.

“The study team at Queen Mary University of London achieved this by targeting eligible participants, who identified as being from an ethnic minority, with images of ethnically diverse patients in study communications. Tailoring communications in this way resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of participants coming from a minority background.”

In addition to uMed’s collaboration with Professor Alastair Noyce on the PREDICT-PD study, he is also principal investigator on uMed’s ongoing observational study AccessPD, a next-generation patient registry supporting the development of better treatments for patients with Parkinson’s.

For more information about uMed and how the company is supporting Parkinson’s Disease research, please get in touch.

uMed Partners with The Michael J. Fox Foundation

uMed Partners with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to Support Wide-scale Study Exploring Link Between Smell Loss and Parkinson’s

  • uMed partners with The Michael J. Fox Foundation to run its smell test study in the UK as part of a global programme to explore the link between smell loss and Parkinson’s disease
  • uMed will enroll eligible patients from over 500 primary care group providers and facilitate the distribution of 15,000 scratch-and-sniff home tests
  • Its technology and network address challenges facing clinical trials, which include engaging large and inclusive patient cohorts as well as empowering over-stretched healthcare professionals to contribute to important research

LONDON, 20 September 2023: uMed, the health and research technology company, today announced The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) has selected its service to support the global expansion of its wide-scale study exploring the link between loss of smell and brain disease.

The smell test study, which is part of MJFF’s landmark brain health initiative, the Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI), will utilise uMed’s network of more than 500 primary care provider groups in the UK to engage eligible participants. uMed will facilitate the distribution of 15,000 University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Tests (UPSIT), a scientifically validated scratch-and-sniff test of smell ability, to individuals aged 60 and older in the UK without Parkinson’s.

Current research into Parkinson’s indicates that 100% of major brain disorders are associated with smell loss and 96% of newly diagnosed Parkinson’s patients have lost some of this sense. In addition, the condition can precede diagnosis by years or even decades.

However, the challenge — as with many research studies — is in engaging large patient cohorts that represent a diverse population. While large academic centres and research sites are set up to support research, many struggle to enrol and retain large numbers of patients. Reuse of limited, local clinical populations can also affect the generalisability of findings to the wider population.

Across all research, 85% of clinical trials face delays and 30% never get off the ground due to a lack of volunteers. By leveraging technologies such as uMed, it’s possible to rapidly and efficiently reach more participants and enable the delivery of larger, more ambitious trials than ever before.

By partnering with uMed, The Michael J. Fox Foundation can access hundreds of primary care providers whose involvement in clinical studies is critical for the advancements in research. Without uMed, these non-traditional research sites often lack the financial and human capital or the technical tools required to regularly engage their patients while balancing care.

uMed will send an SMS invite to potential participants, aged over 60 and without a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, on behalf of the patient’s recognised care provider before taking them to a screening portal. The free and simple scratch-and-sniff tests will then be delivered to consenting participants who will upload their results online. Eligible volunteers will be contacted by a nurse and referred to a clinic site for additional follow-up. Volunteers who join PPMI at a site share critical information through clinical assessments, imaging scans and biological samples over at least five years.

“Advances toward better treatments and cures for Parkinson’s disease require partnership with a diverse, broad base of study participants,” says Maggie Kuhl, MJFF Vice President of Research Engagement. “More simple and efficient tools that can deliver participation opportunities will help us overcome barriers to engagement and connect with more potential volunteers. uMed’s network and service is a valuable tool in helping our PPMI study drive faster recruitment of representative populations, speeding breakthroughs for all.”

The study, which has started enrollment in the UK, has already seen increased engagement of potential volunteers wanting more information and consenting to receive smell tests at home. To date, a third of patients who have been sent an SMS invitation to the study are clicking through to the study website to find out more information. In addition, 11% have consented to receive a smell test kit at home.

Dr Matt Wilson, uMed’s founder and CEO, comments: “We are proud to play our part in accelerating significant advancements in Parkinson’s research. Our technology will help The Michael J. Fox Foundation to reach its goals of driving more than 100,000 UPSIT completions globally. Engaging with a patient cohort of this size is critical if we are to enhance our understanding of this progressive disease and develop advanced therapies to improve patient outcomes.”

Wilson adds, “That being said, we know how hard it is to get impactful research off the ground. Our technical infrastructure and consumer-based marketing techniques enable researchers to develop, manage and engage large-scale patient cohorts in research programs. What’s more, we are democratising access to research for non-traditional research sites and their patients who might otherwise lack the technical infrastructure and staff capacity required to engage tens of thousands of patients across multiple studies. The result is that many patients contacted by uMed have never been invited to participate in research before. In a separate Parkinson’s study supported by uMed, more than 80% of patients reported they had never been asked to participate in research before.”

The partnership between uMed and The Michael J. Fox Foundation follows uMed’s experience in successfully delivering other Parkinson’s studies including the Predict-PD study run by Queen Mary University of London (also a PPMI clinical site). uMed increased monthly patient enrolment by 275%, as well as successfully recruiting a large population of patients from ethnic minorities. It is also running an ongoing observational study AccessPD, a next-generation patient registry which is supporting the development of better treatments for patients with Parkinson’s.

– ENDS –

Our Future Health partners with uMed

Our Future Health partners with uMed to facilitate recruitment of volunteers across the South of the UK

uMed is delighted to announce it is now engaging volunteers for Our Future Health, the UK’s largest health research programme, designed to enable the discovery and testing of more effective approaches to prevention, earlier detection and treatment of diseases. uMed is automating the distribution of SMS invitations via its vast network of GP partners, to support the recruitment of volunteers from across the South of the UK.

Our Future Health is inviting millions of people from all backgrounds to take part and provide information about their health and lifestyles, to create an incredibly detailed picture that represents the whole of the UK. This will provide a world-leading resource for academic and commercial researchers to undertake discovery research on early indicators of disease.

uMed is a health technology company that partners with GP practices to connect patients with medical research studies relevant to their individual health circumstances. The uMed Recruit platform is used by practices across the UK to engage their patients for clinical studies, registries and population health initiatives at scale. uMed’s technology takes on the workload of identifying, screening and engaging patients, so that the GP practice can offer its patients highly relevant research opportunities whilst continuing to focus on patient care.

On behalf of the GPs in their provider network, uMed is facilitating automated outreach via SMS to eligible, consented patients across Poole, Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Southampton, inviting them to take part in Our Future Health.

Volunteers that consent to participate in the programme will be asked to fill in a questionnaire about their health and lifestyle, as well as provide a small sample of blood and physical measurements. Volunteers will also be asked for their consent to use information in their health records alongside the samples and data provided, to build a comprehensive picture of their health.

Our Future Health aims to collect and link these multiple sources of health and health-relevant information across a cohort of 5 million people. Through their rapidly expanding network of GP partners, uMed will be providing over 150,000 patients across the South of the UK with the opportunity to participate in the programme.

“At uMed our ultimate goal is to improve access to research and healthcare to transform lives on a global scale, so we are proud to support such a wide reaching research programme that’s impacting the way we detect and prevent disease. Working with our GP partners, we can reach groups within the population that might otherwise miss out on the opportunity to participate in health programmes like this. This has the potential to make a significant impact on the outcomes of the research; supporting the delivery of better health outcomes for all”

Comment from Dr. Matt Wilson, CEO at uMed.

A key focus of Our Future Health is to build a resource that truly reflects the UK population, ensuring representation from all backgrounds. Past health research programmes have lacked representation of some groups, including people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, as well as those with lower incomes. Prioritising diversity within the programme will support the discovery of treatments that benefit everyone. uMed’s partnership with GP practices enables access to a wide patient population that is inclusive of all backgrounds.

To find out more visit the Our Future Health website: www.ourfuturehealth.org.uk. If you are a GP, Practice Manager, or part of a practice research team, based in the South of the UK and would like to offer your patients the opportunity to take part in Our Future Health, contact us at practicesupport@umed.io.

MCI Onehealth Partners with uMed to Accelerate Clinical Research

Partnership introduces unique patient recruitment and engagement platform to Canada

TORONTO, March 09, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — MCI Onehealth Technologies Inc. (“MCI”) (TSX: DRDR), a clinician-led healthcare technology company focused on increasing access to and quality of healthcare, and uMed, the UK-based provider of a leading automated patient-recruitment platform, are pleased to announce a partnership that will increase patient access to international research studies and accelerate enrollment and improve retention in clinical trials. MCI is uMed’s first Canadian partner.

“MCI’s collaboration with uMed will open a new subset of research that emphasizes real-world evidence and patient-reported information. MCI firmly believes that patient-facing technology is a core component for increasing access to healthcare and for making care more personalized,” said Dr. Alexander Dobranowski, founder and CEO of MCI. “MCI is already uniquely positioned in that we use technology to screen clinical data efficiently and compliantly to flag patients as potential participants for research trials. Once potential participants are flagged from among our more than three million patient records, uMed provides a highly efficient and incredibly fast method for contacting, enrolling, and ongoingly engaging these MCI patients, for any current clinical trial and for future relevant trials. This collaboration creates another innovative avenue by which MCI’s clinical insights as a service program can help optimize patient care, provide access to meaningful clinical trial opportunities and bring value to life sciences stakeholders and health systems.”

uMed connects healthcare professionals and their patients with ground-breaking research opportunities. Their digital patient recruitment platform enables healthcare professionals to participate in more research with minimal additional workload, providing their patients with better access to studies that are highly relevant to their specific condition.

uMed’s ability to capture patient-reported outcomes and real-world evidence is in demand for advancing clinical insights and fosters patient-empowerment. Their platform and approach are fully compliant with all relevant requirements for consent, privacy, data security and research ethics for clinical research, additionally allowing for opportunities to more easily and compliantly re-engage patients for follow-up or related trials.

“We’re thrilled to partner with innovators like MCI for our entry into Canada. Our two companies are aligned in the vision of how access to research can help optimize health for specific patients and more broadly across populations. Faster and more customizable cohorts in interventional and non-interventional clinical trials lead to better care options sooner, and more cost efficiently,” said Dr. Matt Wilson, CEO of uMed. “In MCI we see a partner that not only shares uMed’s driven commitment to supporting effective, efficient clinical research, but also a company with the existing clinical data lake to immediately utilize the uMed platform for significant outcomes.”

In keeping with its objective to be a preeminent health technology leader, MCI nurtures international opportunities to leverage its vast pool of high-quality structured clinical information. MCI’s audience for clinical insights continues to grow in Canada and the US and will further benefit from collaboration with international leader uMed.

About MCI:
MCI is a healthcare technology company focused on empowering patients and doctors with advanced technologies to increase access, improve quality, and reduce healthcare costs. As part of the healthcare community for over 30 years, MCI operates one of Canada’s leading primary care networks with approximately 280 physicians and specialists, serves more than one million patients annually and had nearly 300,000 telehealth visits last year, including online visits via mciconnect.ca. MCI additionally offers an expanding suite of occupational health service offerings that support a growing list of nearly 600 corporate customers. MCI provides data insights as a service in six categories: rare disease; complex major medical/chronic; patient cohort building; clinical trial recruitment; synthetic health data and bespoke insights. Led by a proven management team of doctors and experienced executives, MCI remains focused on executing a strategy centered around acquiring technology and health services that complement the company’s current roadmap. For more information, visit mcionehealth.com

About uMed
uMed is a healthcare technology company dedicated to accelerating clinical trials by making participation in research more accessible for healthcare professionals and their patients. The uMed platform takes on the workload of recruiting patients for clinical studies by automating the process of identification, screening, and engagement, all on behalf of the patient’s recognized provider. The technology seamlessly links clinical data from consented patients to ePROs, device data, and biosamples to rapidly create study-specific datasets and registries. This enables healthcare professionals to participate in more revenue-generating research with minimal additional workload, and provides patients with better access to life changing studies. uMed is embedded across a global network of providers that represent over 10 million lives across the UK, US, Canada and Australia. For more information, visit https://www.umed.io/


For media enquiries please contact:

Nolan Reeds | MCI Onehealth | nolan@mcionehealth.com
Lucy White | uMed | lucy.white@umed.io