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National Library of Medicine (NLM)

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Kathleen Cravedi
240-418-7491 (cell)

National Institutes of Health’s ClinicalTrials.gov Web Site Wins Prestigious Award
Web site gives patients and families facing life-threatening illnesses access to centralized information on clinical trials

Bethesda, Maryland — ClinicalTrials.gov, the Web site developed by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) as an information service of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), was the recipient of Harvard University's prestigious "Oscar" of government awards — the Innovations in American Government Award. ClinicalTrials.gov, one of five winners of the award, will receive a $100,000 grant to support its replication.

HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson noted that ClinicalTrials.gov is a good example of how government can improve access to vital health care information for all Americans. "It is an important element in this Administration's initiative to improve the health care system through the application of advanced health information technology," Secretary Thompson said.

Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health, added, "We are extremely proud of this resource. It is accessible to all and written in a manner that patients can understand. The site tells the public about the location of clinical trials, what they are trying to do, where they are located and how any member of the public can volunteer to participate. Even more, it links to additional information about diseases and disorders. We are delighted by this recognition."

ClinicalTrials.gov grew out of 1997 legislation that required HHS to broaden the public's access to information about clinical trials on a wide range of serious or life-threatening diseases by establishing a registry for both federally and privately funded trials (<http://clinicaltrials.gov/>). ClinicalTrials.gov is a completely confidential Web site. No registration or personal identification of any kind is required. People who search the site are not contacted by the sponsors of clinical trials or anyone else.

"Created in 2000, the Web site gives patients and families convenient access to information on clinical trials for a wide range of diseases and conditions," said Donald A.B. Lindberg, M.D., Director of the National Library of Medicine. "If we are to continue to make the giant strides in diagnosis, treatment, and cure of illness that marked the last century, we must have the participation in clinical trials by well-informed volunteers."

Alexa T. McCray, Ph.D., who directs the ClinicalTrials.gov project, remarked, "Most gratifying to us has been the reaction of our users. Our primary, overriding goal is to provide patients, their families, and other interested individuals with high-quality, reliable health information."

Traffic on the site is one measure of its value. Since its inception, the site has logged more than 75 million hits. During the last two years, daily visitors to the site have more than doubled from 7,130 to 16,055. In February 2000, ClinicalTrials.gov included about 4,400 trials. Today, that number has more than doubled to 11,000.

The Innovations in American Government Awards is a program of the Ash Institute for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government. The award is administered in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government.

Located in Bethesda, Maryland, the National Library of Medicine, the world's largest library of the health sciences, is a component of the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services.

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