May 5, 2018: New Article Explores Opportunities for Funding the Training of Future Health Services Researchers

In a new article, Dr. Vincent Mor, an NIH Collaboratory investigator, and Dr. Paul Wallace describe the history, current status, and opportunities for funding training in health services research (HSR). While the number of organizations seeking to solve problems with health services research has been expanding, direct government support for HSR is declining. The authors project 5 key challenges for the field and its professional development:

  • Formulating and prioritizing research topics
  • Whether to use team- or individual-based approaches
  • How new data sources, analytic methods, and the need for faster results affect supply and demand for HSR
  • Shifts from public to institutional funding and the associated effects on generalizability
  • Balancing proprietary concerns regarding data, predictive models, and study results with the need to improve public health and rapidly disseminate information

According to the authors, sustainable solution will involve active collaboration between those who use HSR as a part of decision-making (and will likely pay for it) and those who produce it.

“We believe that the key change needed to productively address the above challenges will be a closer collaboration between HSR users, especially health systems, and academic HSR training programs to work towards producing timely, internally relevant, and externally generalizable knowledge (Mor and Wallace 2018).”

Dr. Mor is a principal investigator for the Pragmatic Trial of Video Education in Nursing Homes (PROVEN) trial, one of the NIH Collaboratory Demonstration Projects.

Mor V, Wallace P. 2018.  Funding the Training of Future Health Services Researchers. Health Services Research. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.12844.

May 1, 2018: Proposal for 6-month Delay for Implementation of Revised Common Rule

On April 20, 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services and 15 other federal departments and agencies proposed a rule to delay both the effective and compliance dates for the revisions to the “Federal Policy for the Protection of Human Subjects” (also known as the Common Rule). The Interim Final Rule initially announced a delay until July 19, 2018, and the new, proposed rule would delay by a further 6 months to January 21, 2019. This is intended to give institutions additional time to prepare to implement the revisions. Before January 21, 2019, institutions must comply with the pre-2018 Common Rule, except for these three proposed allowances, which are intended to reduce burden on regulated entities:

  1. Entities may use the 2018 definition of “research,” which deems certain activities not to be research,
  2. No annual continuing review is needed for certain categories of research, and
  3. Institutional review boards (IRBs) are not required to review grant applications related to research.

Comments on the proposal will be accepted until midnight EST on May 21, 2018, on the Federal eRulemaking Portal or through regular mail. To use the portal, search for “83 FR 17595” and click the box “Comment Now!”

April 16, 2018: Registration Now Open for Workshop on Embedded Pragmatic Clinical Trials of Therapeutic A vs. B Interventions

Registration is now open for a one-day workshop sponsored by the NIH Common Fund and organized by NIH Collaboratory thought leaders. The workshop, to be held on May 16, will focus on expanding the understanding of a specific type of pragmatic trial, the A vs. B trial, which compares two or more distinct therapeutic medical interventions. Over the past 6 years, the NIH Collaboratory has launched Demonstration Projects that address questions of major public health importance in real-world settings with usual care as a control arm. Much has been learned about the design, conduct, and dissemination of pragmatic clinical trials through this work. As a next step, there is considerable excitement at the prospect of exploring pragmatic clinical trials for comparing medical interventions.

The workshop will include a series of moderated discussions of opportunities and approaches for partnering with healthcare systems, and other stakeholders, to conduct embedded A vs. B trials. Speakers will include representatives from NIH, FDA, OHRP, health systems, academia, and industry.

The workshop will take place from 8:00 AM – 4:15 PM ET on Wednesday, May 16. Participants can join in person at the Bethesda Marriott in Maryland or via webcast. Choose an option for attendance on the registration page.

The organizing committee for the workshop includes Adrian Hernandez & Richard Platt (Co-Chairs), Laura Dember, Susan Huang, Catherine Meyers, Wendy Weber, and Dave Wendler.

 

 

April 9, 2018: PPACT Study Design Paper Published

Congratulations to Dr. Lynn DeBar and the investigators of the Collaborative Care for Chronic Pain in Primary Care pragmatic trial for recently publishing their study design paper. One of the NIH Collaboratory Demonstration Projects, the trial is designed to test whether a primary care–based behavioral intervention the Pain Program for Active Coping and Training (PPACT)—will provide a “more effective, safer, and more satisfactory alternative to opioid-based chronic pain treatment” than usual care for patients on chronic opioid treatment (Debar et al 2018). Learn more about this innovative trial in the article in Contemporary Clinical Trials. You can also download a trial snapshot.

Full Citation: DeBar L, Benes L, Bonifay A, et al. Interdisciplinary team-based care for patients with chronic pain on long-term opioid treatment in primary care (PPACT) – Protocol for a pragmatic cluster randomized trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2018;67:91-99. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2018.02.015

March 15, 2018: New Resource for Understanding Ethical and Regulatory Architecture of Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Data

Using patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR) data requires balancing the need for sufficient private health information to support meaningful research with the need to protect patient privacy and autonomy. In support of this dual goal, The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) has just released a document that provides a collection of tools and resources aimed at helping a broad audience of stakeholders understand the ethical and regulatory requirements related to collecting, using, sharing, and disclosing PCOR data.

“An architecture is necessary to ensure patient privacy is protected and health information is appropriately secured during collection, access, use, and disclosure as required by law, regulation, and/or policy.” —Legal and Ethical Architecture for PCOR Data

PCOR data will help expand the evidence base for therapies and improve health outcomes for individual patients.

Read the full document: Legal and Ethical Architecture for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Data (“Architecture”)

The document is divided into 5 chapters:

Chapter 1: Overview of Legal and Ethical Architecture for PCOR Data provides background for the project and an overview of key ethical and regulatory requirements.

Chapter 2: Legal and Ethical Significance of Data for PCOR describes fundamental concepts for organizing data into categories such that legal and ethical frameworks can be applied. The chapter includes key considerations and types of data relevant to PCOR, such as clinical, administrative, patient-generated, etc.

Chapter 3: Linking Legal and Ethical Requirements to PCOR Data organizes the relevant legal provisions according to the key data considerations outlined in Chapter 2: identifiability, subject, source, access and use/purpose, consent/authorization, security, and legal status.

Chapter 4: Framework for Navigating Legal and Ethical Requirements for PCOR is designed as a decision tool that builds on the key data considerations described in Chapters 2 and 3. The goal of this chapter is to help researchers determine whether laws apply to particular data and if so, what requirements to attach to their collection and use.

Chapter 5: Mapping Research Flows to Legal Requirements identifies 6 hypothetical use cases, identifies decision trigger points, and maps representative data flows to the relevant legal requirements.

 

March 14, 2018: Public Input on Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Due April 1

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) is requesting information to help inform a competition in the fall to develop and implement user-friendly technical tools for the collection of patient-reported outcome (PRO) data. The AHRQ is interested in learning about experiences with physical function PRO measures that are currently in use in ambulatory care settings, including primary and secondary care, as well as the methods used to collect these data. The information will be used to select physical function measures for the competition, which aims to bolster collection and integration of PRO data in the electronic health record by developing and piloting new, user-friendly tools. Responses can be emailed to Janey.hsiao@ahrq.hhs.gov and are due April 1, 2018.

March 7, 2018: FDA Offers Workshop on Submitting Draft Guidance on Patient Experience Data

The FDA is conducting a public workshop on Monday, March 19, to obtain input from stakeholders—including patients, patient advocates, academic and medical researchers, expert practitioners, drug developers, and other interested persons—to inform the drafting of a patient-focused drug development guidance as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. Workshop attendees will discuss considerations for development and submission of a proposed draft guidance regarding patient experience data submitted by an external stakeholder. The guidance is intended to help stakeholders continue progress in developing new medicines to respond to patient’s needs.

Registration for the event, either in person or via a live webcast, ends March 12. More meeting details, including background materials, will be posted by FDA as available.

February 28, 2018: New Meeting Summary Examines How to Integrate Patient‐Reported Health Data for Pragmatic Research

A recently released summary from the ADAPTABLE Roundtable Meeting explores ways to better understand the sets of circumstances and considerations that could guide when and how to gather and integrate patient-reported health data with other data sources in pragmatic trials.

For outcomes that represent subjective experiences, such as pain, symptoms, and physical functioning, the patient is the unique and privileged source of information. Other patient-reported health data may not have a clear source of truth, such as co-morbidities and hospitalizations. In such cases, patient-reported health data may supplement, contradict, or agree with EHR and claims data. For example, medication data reported by patients might be a more accurate reflection of what patients are actually taking than medication data in the EHR, especially for over-the-counter medications.

Patient-reported health data come from various sources and can be feasibly collected in the conduct of a pragmatic clinical trial, but the optimal approaches for capturing and analyzing these data are unclear. Questions include how to integrate this information with other data collected as part of a study, including data from the EHR.

To better understand patient-reported health data and how to use them in pragmatic trials, 18 experts from 8 institutions convened at the roundtable meeting, coming from a wide variety of backgrounds including biostatistics, epidemiology, oncology, nursing, psychiatry, health policy, and regulation. Representatives from the NIH Collaboratory included Drs. Lesley Curtis and Rachel Richesson from the EHR Core and Dr. Kevin Weinfurt from the Patient-Reported Outcomes Core.

In addition to the meeting summary, two white papers are forthcoming. For more information about using patient-reported data in pragmatic trials, see the Living Textbook Chapter on Endpoints and Outcomes.

This effort was funded by Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through a supplement provided to the NIH Collaboratory Coordinating Center.

February 22, 2017: NIH Collaboratory Launches First Embedded Pragmatic Clinical Trial Training Workshop

On February 20-21, 2018, a group of 27 clinical investigators met in Durham to learn from the NIH Collaboratory about the design and conduct of embedded pragmatic clinical trials (ePCTs). Through the experiences of the NIH Collaboratory, much has been learned about how to launch and implement successful ePCTs. The workshop’s goal was to help investigators advance their ePCT research ideas and build a larger community of researchers capable of conducting high-quality ePCTs. Participants from across the country were selected based on a rigorous application process.

“ePCTS hold the promise of an efficient and powerful way to generate evidence. We’ve learned so much through the Collaboratory, but the knowledge is not helpful if we’re not passing it along to other clinical investigators so they can contribute even more evidence to the knowledge base,” said Kevin Weinfurt, PhD, a co-principal investigator of the NIH Collaboratory’s Coordinating Center who helped develop and organize the workshop along with a planning committee.

Representatives from the Coordinating Center, Demonstration Projects, and Core Groups were on hand to provide information, guidance, and lessons learned from their experience with the NIH Collaboratory ePCTs. The topics included an introduction to ePCTs, engaging stakeholders and aligning with healthcare system partners, designing with implementation in mind, design and analytic considerations, regulatory and ethical challenges, measuring outcomes, dissemination, and ePCT team composition. Representatives from the NIH were also in attendance and presented sessions about the importance of pilot and feasibility testing and developing a compelling application for funding. During the workshop, participants completed hands-on exercises and worked through trial design challenges with the experts and their colleagues.

Wendy Weber, ND, PhD, MPH, Acting Deputy Director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), presenting on pilot and feasibility testing in ePCTs.

“We’re trying to change the world, and to change the world you need generalizable data and interventions that are scalable. The chasm for implementation of clinical evidence is huge, and PCTs have the capacity to take great interventions and get them to the patients so that they can have impact and improve care,” said Wendy Weber, ND, PhD, MPH, acting deputy director of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), and one of the workshop presenters. “While local improvements can be accomplished through quality improvement activities, if you have outcomes that matter, randomizing interventions and studying them on a large scale can provide the evidence that will make a real difference in the care of people across the United States.”

Another goal of the workshop was to pilot the educational materials and collect feedback on their quality and appropriateness from both attendees and subject matter experts. The Collaboratory Coordinating Center will use the feedback to refine the content for future workshops and educational materials. The NIH Collaboratory’s Living Textbook provided a foundation for much of the workshop, and a host of new information was presented that can be used in future materials and updates to the textbook.

The training was funded as an NIH Roadmap Initiative 3U54AT007748-05S2.

 

February 7, 2018: In New Video, Drs. Susan Huang and Gloria Coronado Give Advice to Pragmatic Trial Investigators

In the spring of 2018, the NIH Collaboratory will be welcoming a new set of Demonstration Projects and will help shepherd the new pragmatic trials through the piloting and implementation phases of their studies. In a new video in the Living Textbook, two of our seasoned principal investigators—Drs. Susan Huang and Gloria Coronado—give advice to the newcomers and other investigators new to conducting pragmatic trials.

Advice to New Pragmatic Trial Investigators from NIH Research Collaboratory on Vimeo.

“My greatest advice is to gain partners who are operational and have insight into particular areas—whether they be hospitals, or clinics, or nursing homes—who know about how they really work, how to best incorporate the intervention into workflow, how to get the right approvals, and how to get the best information technology support available to them.”—Susan Huang, MD

“One of the key things that we’ve received from being part of the Collaboratory—compared to an R01 grant—is the opportunity to interact across all of the institutes at NIH as well as learn about other projects that are working in pretty diverse health systems, including hospital systems, nursing homes, and dialysis centers.” —Gloria Coronado, PhD