Dementia is expected to affect over 75 million people by 2030 (1) so finding a cure is urgent. The G8 nations aim to achieve this by 2025, but – for this to happen – researchers need to find enough volunteers to take part in clinical initiatives.
To help match interested volunteers with dementia research groups, PA developed a public-facing web portal, Join Dementia Research, on behalf of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) and its partners, Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.
We applied our extensive expertise in agile delivery and business change to create a portal in just 16 weeks that delivered a high quality user experience for the different stakeholder groups. Our agile approach included giving research groups and potential volunteers the opportunity to feedback on each new version of the portal, and scheduling development work around a series of fortnightly ‘sprints’ to drive the project forward. We also used cloud technologies to provide a solution that would work for the dispersed research groups. This will also help keep running costs for the portal low and allow it to be easily scaled up in future.
Join Dementia Research has proved a huge success. Within a month of the portal’s formal launch, over 5,000 volunteers had registered their interest in being part of research studies, and more than 80 research organisations were using the site to link up with over 6000 volunteers. By bringing volunteers and researchers together, we are helping to move a cure for dementia one step closer.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer, stated: “This superb initiative was developed to help ensure we can meet the ambitious targets for recruitment to high-quality research studies, set by the Prime Minister in his challenge on dementia. Join Dementia Research is a potential pathfinder for other fields, showing how to boost patient and public participation in research.”