A New Social Media Resource for Sharing Colorectal Research Trials

Viewpoints from Steven Wexner, MD, PhD (Hon)

A quick and easy way to share information about the latest colorectal research trials? I’m hoping the newly established #CRStrials fills that need.

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The reason I came up with this Twitter account was to fill a gap. Colorectal surgeon Richard Brady in the UK started Colorectalsurgery to unite colorectal surgeons in clinical practice. He then started #ColorectalResearch to help disseminate recent research results. I thought of #CRStrials to network people participating in research before the research starts and while it’s underway.

#CRStrials has three main purposes:

To help accrue patients. When you’re starting a trial, you may overestimate the number of potentially eligible patients. This new innovative unique resource can help clinicians disseminate news of their participation in trials to help increase accrual.

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To inform patients about trials. Whether a patient has ulcerative colitis or morbid obesity, many of them want to find out what’s the latest out there besides standard treatments. While there’s always clinicaltrials.gov, you really have to know what you’re looking for and it’s a bit cumbersome. #CRStrials will simply advertise high-level details, obviously continuously respecting HIPAA-compliance and study sponsor confidentiality.

To help industry. This resource can also help those who are looking to sponsor any colorectal-related research trials.

Thanks to Debby Keller, of Columbia University and University College London, we’ve gotten #CRStrials up and running and I’m enjoying serving in an advisory role. My appreciation as well to Emre Gorgun, MD, one of the colorectal surgeons who I asked to join the founding advisory group.

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Our first tweet chat in January was well received by over 1,800 impressions and accordingly we’re hosting a second on Feb. 1, featuring myself, Dr. Keller, Dr. Karen Zaghiyan, and special guest Dr. Kat Baker.

The goal of these chats are:

  • Introducing avenues for getting involved in research and obtaining mentorship and support as a young investigator
  • Discussing current projects of guests and strategies to #geteveryoneinvolved
  • Comparing multicenter/collaborative projects in the U.S. and U.K. What can we learn from each other for success?

Future chats will feature specific clinical trials.

So far, the response has been tremendous. If it goes well, we can expand it beyond colorectal surgery to other surgical areas and potentially beyond to medical specialties.