Accrual to Clinical Trials (ACT) Network

ACT map

University of Minnesota clinical researchers and study teams can now query nearly 40 million patient records through the Accrual to Clinical Trials (ACT) Network for discovery, exploration, and validation of patient cohorts for investigator-initiated multi-site or single-site clinical trials.


There is no cost to the researcher, study team, or department to use the tool.

Benefits of cohort discovery and exploration

  • Help generate hypotheses
  • Determine recruitment feasibility and patient identification
  • Funding proposals and IRB submissions
  • Helps accelerate clinical trials by prospectively refining study design and clinical protocols

Additionally, the ACT Network can be used to help identify potential partner sites for multi-site studies; though an established collaborator at another site is not necessary to use the tool for cohort discovery.

"Grant and IRB applications that show reviewers the PI has done the necessary legwork to discover the patient population size with parameters of interest, are stronger applications and thus are more likely to be approved."

— Ahmad AbuSalah, Director of Clinical Informatics Services

Real-time queries

Researchers can run real-time queries on de-identified patient data in the ACT Network through the i2b2 tool’s multi-site Shared Health Research Information Network (SHRINE).

The “drag-and-drop” interface makes it easy to select query criteria and users can use the “Workplace” feature to save query logic and previous work to come back to later.

The ACT Network is one of CTSI’s five data sharing networks it offers to U of M researchers and study teams to tap into opportunities to conduct multi-site clinical trials.

Early adoption

The University of Minnesota Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) is one of the first 21 Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) hubs across the country to launch the ACT Network, which is developed by the National Institutes’ of Health National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and is powered by CTSA award site clinical data. An additional 13 academic medical research centers’ clinical data will be included by year’s end.

It is the first site in Minnesota to implement the ACT Network, and is the first CTSA hub site in the nation to make this data sharing network of nearly 40 million patient records available campuswide.

The ACT Network is HIPAA compliant and pre-approved by the University of Minnesota’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) and does not require study-specific IRB approval.