FARSITE is a software tool to help find patients who can enter clinical trials. It now covers a population of 1.3 million patients across four AHSNs, and has significantly increased trial recruitment and participation. It is a very scalable solution.

“Search in seconds, send to GPs in minutes, recruit in days.”

Sue Wood, North West Diabetes Research Network Manager

What was the problem?

Having the ability to find and contact patients can and will attract commercial and non-commercial studies, generate economic growth and increase opportunity for patients to participate in research. This is not always well-supported by the NHS’s traditional ways of storing and sharing patient data.

What we did and why

Greater Manchester Academic Health Science Network (GM AHSN) and the Greater Manchester Clinical Research Network (GM CRN) identified a need to accelerate useful health innovation by helping researchers and clinicians to improve the way data is handled and studies are planned and conducted.

FARSITE is a web application for rapidly searching, finding and contacting cohorts of patients in a population, while preserving patient confidentiality. It can be used to gauge feasibility and to recruit for clinical trials, for medicines reviews, and for risk stratification. FARSITE was developed by NorthWest EHealth (NWEH), a partnership between the University of Manchester, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust and Salford CCG.

The main aim of the FARSITE national roll out is to increase the number of participating GP practices and patients, and so raise the power of FARSITE to inform and identify varied patient cohorts.

Which national priorities does this work address?

  • Spreading best practice
  • Collaboration
  • Innovation and adoption


  • Operational across the four northern AHSNs, covering over 4 million patients with 800,000 in the GM AHSN footprint.
  • Greater Manchester outperforms all other regions of the country for recruitment to life sciences trials, as a consequence of FARSITE.
  • More than 4,500 people from 33 GP surgeries were recruited to a care evaluation programme within 16 weeks with FARSITE.
  • Great Manchester is currently reviewing whether FARSITE could be used to screen high-risk patients and help GPs target therapeutic interventions for stroke prevention.
  • In the last 12 months, the GM CRN has completed more than 250 feasibility searches for industry and academia studies in primary care.

“Manchester is serious about healthcare research and innovation. The Greater Manchester NIHR Clinical Research Network is committed to delivering research which improves our patients’ health and NHS services. The FARSITE rollout project has enabled more research opportunities for primary care patients and has increased engagement with local GP practices. FARSITE ensures Greater Manchester research teams can accurately assess the feasibility of potential studies and encourages collaboration between different NHS organisations to improving health outcomes through research.”

Sarah Fallon, Life-Sciences Industry Delivery Lead CRN: Greater Manchester

GMAHSN Farsite 1million

Tips for implementation

FARSITE can be deployed very rapidly as the governance arrangements are already in place and the existing technical infrastructure is scalable. The most important aspect
of support is sustained leadership, commitment and championing to ensure this essential enabler is delivered by the CRN with aligned support from the local CCG, GP federation and CSU. National champions also provide a valuable route for garnering support. For example Dr Sheila McCorkindale, Clinical Lead for Diabetes and Naresh Kanumilli, GP Quality and Performance Lead, have proven influential when promoting their positive experiences and successes with FARSITE.

Next steps and spread

Hitachi is building FARSITE into their large-scale diabetes prevention programme, as it can rapidly establish which patients should be targeted for preventative therapy. After rolling out in Lancashire, FARSITE is being extended across the Innovation Agency’s entire geography over the next two years.

Find out more

Visit the FARSITE website for more information.

Visit the Greater Manchester AHSN website.

Contact for help and advice

Martin Gibson, Director of Research and Informatics

Isabelle Masters, Communications
0161 206 7993

Programme duration: Ongoing