Selection of patients for clinical trials: An interactive web-based system

Eugene Fink, Princeton K. Kokku, Savvas Nikiforou, Lawrence O. Hall, Dmitry B. Goldgof, and Jeffrey P. Krischer

Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, 31(3), pages 241-254, 2004.


The purpose of a clinical trial is to evaluate a new treatment procedure. When medical researchers conduct a trial, they recruit participants with appropriate health problems and medical histories. To select participants, they analyze medical records of the available patients, which has traditionally been a manual procedure.

We describe an expert system that helps to select patients for clinical trials. If the available data are insufficient for choosing patients, the system suggests additional medical tests and finds an ordering of the tests that reduces their total cost. Experiments show that the system can increase the number of selected patients. We also present an interface that enables a medical researcher to add clinical trials and selection criteria without the help of a programmer. The addition of a new trial takes ten to twenty minutes, and novice users learn the functionality of the interface in about an hour.