IFPMA Taps IBM Search Technology to Deliver Medical Information for Patients and Physicians

Clinical Trials Portal Overcomes Language Differences, Complex Medical Terminology

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ARMONK, NY - 22 Mar 2006: The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) today unveiled an enhanced online clinical trials portal, enabled by IBM search software and industry consulting expertise, that delivers information about clinical trials for drugs and medical treatments, enabling physicians and patients to make more informed, thorough medical decisions.

The IFPMA Clinical Trials Portal (http://clinicaltrials.ifpma.org) is a first-ever, multinational project involving pharmaceutical, biotech and vaccine trial information from companies in the United States, Europe and Japan. The portal enables patients and physicians to search and access medical information from more than 88,000 pages of ongoing and completed clinical trial studies worldwide, allowing users to search in German, French, Japanese and Spanish, as well as English.

The portal uses IBM's advanced text analytics and content discovery capabilities, extending beyond conventional Internet-based search to help interpret and understand the medical information an individual wants and needs -- even if their query contains misspelled words or jargon. For example, patients are sometimes unfamiliar with medical terminology, so the system suggests synonyms for medical conditions and medicines, which helps to correct misspelled words. This capability enables IFPMA to increase the accuracy and relevance of information delivered to physicians and patients.

"To help visitors to the Portal get to what they are looking for more quickly, the Portal now makes it easier to perform multiple criteria searches and allows searches to be qualified by geographical area. In this way, you can program the search engine to look for trials which are underway in the area where you live, in the disease that interests you," said Dr. Harvey E. Bale, Director General of the IFPMA.

In addition to transcending international language differences and various complex medical terms used worldwide, the portal's search capabilities help intuitively deliver seamless access to potentially relevant information to patients and physicians, specific to their medical query. For example, a search for the term "lung cancer" reveals results for pulmonary neoplasms or a search for Dispril, one of the trade names for aspirin, will also find information containing just "aspirin."

The IFPMA portal is based upon the IBM WebSphere Information Integrator OmniFind Edition search engine. The text processing components of the search portal are built upon the Unstructured Information Management Architecture (UIMA), an open source framework for building advanced search and text analytics applications. The portal is powered by IBM WebSphere Portal software, was developed by IBM Business Consulting Services, and is hosted by IBM Global Services' e-Business Hosting Services.

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