Background: Although clinician, researcher, and patient resources for matchmaking exist, finding similar patients remains an obstacle for rare disease diagnosis. The goals of this study were to develop and test the effectiveness of an Internet case-finding strategy and identify factors associated with increased matching within a rare disease population. Methods: Public web pages were created for consented participants. Matches made, time to each inquiry and match, and outcomes were recorded and analyzed using descriptive statistics. A Poisson regression model was run to identify characteristics associated with matches. Results: 385 participants were referred to the project and 158 had pages posted. 579 inquiries were received; 89.0% were from the general public and 24.7% resulted in a match. 81.6% of pages received at least one inquiry and 15.0% had at least one patient match. Primary symptom category of neurology, diagnosis, gene page, and photo were associated with increased matches (p ≤ 0.05). Conclusions: This Internet case-finding strategy was of interest to patients, families, and clinicians, and similar patients were identified using this approach. Extending matchmaking efforts to the general public resulted in matches and suggests including this population in matchmaking activities can improve identification of similar patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number210
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Data sharing
  • Diagnostic odyssey
  • Gene discovery
  • Matchmaking
  • Rare disease


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