October 9, 2018: New Recommendations for Engaging Patients in Roles Other Than as Research Subjects

A panel funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) recently published recommendations for the oversight of patients who participate in research roles other than as “research subject.” Patients and caregivers participate in many roles, such as co-investigators, study personnel, and advisors in research studies, and this creates novel ethical and regulatory challenges. The panel provides a taxonomy for these roles and recommendations for appropriate oversight. The group also provides recommendations about identifying and engaging a diverse mix of patients and developing mechanisms to protect against possible conflicts of interest. Finally, given the ubiquity of mobile health and other emerging technologies for use by patients, the recommendations provide guidance about the inclusion of these technologies in patient-centered outcomes research, with specific attention to education, best practices, and appropriate privacy protections.

In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Robert Califf expressed his support for the panel’s efforts and their taxonomy for patients in patient-centered outcomes research:

“Given the persistent gap between the slow pace of research and the pressing need for high-quality evidence to guide practice in areas of clinical uncertainty on one hand, and the potential offered by more pragmatic, people-centered research methods on the other, we need positive approaches for making learning through research a routine part of clinical care rather than an exceptional event.”

 

Podcast October 1, 2018: Returning Individual Research Results to Participants: Guidance for a New Research Paradigm

Listen to the episode here:

At least once a month, we will release interviews with Grand Rounds speakers that delve into their topic of interest and give listeners bonus time with these featured experts.

Please let us know what you think by providing your feedback through the podcast page. We also encourage you to listen and share the recordings with your colleagues!

October 1, 2018: Dr. Greg Simon Uses a Pie Eating Contest Analogy to Explain the Intraclass Correlation Coefficient

In a new video, Dr. Greg Simon explains the intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) with an analogy to a pie eating contest. The ICC is a descriptive statistic that measures the correlations among members of a group, and it is an important tool for cluster-randomized pragmatic trials because this calculation helps determine the sample size needed to detect an effect.

Greg Simon from NIH Collaboratory on Vimeo.

“When we randomize treatments by doctors, clinics, or even whole health systems, we need to think about how things cluster, and the intraclass correlation coefficient is the measure of that clustering. When we think about sample sizes in pragmatic clinical trials, it’s important to understand what an intraclass correlation coefficient actually is.”

For most pragmatic trials, the ICC will be between 0 and 1. If the outcomes in a group are completely correlated (ICC=1), then all participants within the group are likely to have the same outcome. When ICC=1, sampling one participant from the cluster is as informative as sampling the whole cluster, and many clusters will be needed to detect an effect. If there is no correlation among members of the groups (ICC=0), then the available sample size for the study is essentially the number of participants.

For more on the ICC, see the Intraclass Correlation section in the Living Textbook or this working document from the Collaboratory’s Biostatistics and Study Design Core.

October 1, 2018: Meeting Minutes from NIH Collaboratory’s Regulatory/Ethics Core Discussions with the New Demonstration Projects

Meeting minutes and supplementary materials are available that summarize discussions related to the ethics and regulatory issues associated with each of the new UG3 Demonstration Projects. These discussions, which took place by teleconference, included representation from study principal investigators and study teams, members of the NIH Collaboratory Regulatory/Ethics Core, NIH staff, and NIH Collaboratory Coordinating Center personnel as well as some IRBs responsible for oversight of the projects.

September 14, 2018: Tips for Submitting a Pragmatic Trial Application to NIH

In a new video, Dr. Wendy Weber, the Program Officer for the NIH Collaboratory Coordinating Center, provides some expert advice for investigators who are considering submitting an application for a pragmatic clinical trial to the NIH.

“Don’t assume that the study panel is going to understand what pragmatic means. They may have their own completely different definition than you, and it’s important that you get on the same page early on in your application.” —Wendy Weber, PhD, Acting Deputy Director, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)

September 10: NIH Collaboratory Launches New ePCT Training Resources

The NIH Collaboratory is pleased to announce new training resources available on the Living Textbook. These resources are being shared with the research community to provide guidance about building partnerships with health systems and overcoming the challenges of conducting embedded pragmatic clinical trials (ePCTs). The materials reflect the knowledge, insight, and best practices acquired by the NIH Collaboratory program and its Demonstration Projects.

Resources include:

  • Materials from the inaugural ePCT Training Workshop held in February 2018 to provide training to mid- and senior-level investigators interested in conducting ePCTs
  • A slide presentation of the NIH Collaboratory’s goals and organizational structure along with a brief introduction to each Demonstration Project
  • An infographic introducing the elements of the NIH Collaboratory program and the value of engaging in pragmatic research
  • A slide presentation and worksheet on essential things to think about and do when designing, conducting, and disseminating ePCTs
  • An introductory video from NIH Collaboratory leadership on the rationale and aims for the ePCT training resources

“The workshop reinforced that there is a demand for these kinds of training opportunities across the clinical research community.” Lesley Curtis, PhD

Visit the new training resources webpage.

September 7, 2018: Spotlight on a New Demonstration Project: HiLo

Kidney transplantation is the preferred treatment for patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), but an insufficient organ supply renders dialysis the only viable treatment option for most patients. Though clinical outcomes among patients receiving dialysis have improved modestly in recent years, annual rates of hospitalization and mortality remain unacceptably high, and quality of life is poor. Poor outcomes are driven primarily by increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), but interventions that improve outcomes in the general population by targeting traditional CVD risk factors have mostly failed in patients with ESRD. Current clinical practice guidelines advocate aggressive treatment of high serum phosphate to near-normal levels using dietary phosphate binders and restrictive diets. The benefits of this approach, however, are unproven, the optimal serum phosphate target remains unknown, and potential harms of aggressive treatment have not been definitively identified.

The Pragmatic Trial of Higher vs. Lower Serum Phosphate Targets in Patients Undergoing Hemodialysis (HiLo) plans to address these clinically important questions in a large, pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial that will evaluate the effects of liberalizing the serum phosphate target (“Hi”) versus maintaining aggressive phosphate control (“Lo”) for patients receiving treatment with maintenance hemodialysis.

 “The question at hand is something we grapple with on a daily basis in every dialysis facility across the country. Either answer will be important new information that will help us do a better job taking care of patients and hopefully improve their quality of life.”

HiLo is led by Myles Wolf, MD, of Duke University with support from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Read more about HiLo.

September 6, 2018: Spotlight on a New Demonstration Project: ACP PEACE

Because many clinicians do not have the skill set to engage patients in conversations about advance care planning (ACP), many older Americans with advanced cancer receive aggressive interventions at the end of life that do not reflect their values, goals, and preferences. The ACP PEACE trial is investigating whether a comprehensive approach to ACP improves patient outcomes. The program will combine two evidence-based complementary interventions: clinician communication skills training (VitalTalk) and patient video decision aids (ACP Decisions). The goal is to provide both patients and clinicians with communication skills and tools so they can make informed decisions about end-of-life care.

“We’re doing an intervention where we include videos for patients about what the possible interventions are, and we’re also training the clinicians, the oncologists and their teams to have better communication about their goals of care and about treatment planning.” —James Tulsky, MD, Co-Principal Investigator of the ACP PEACE trial.

ACP-PEACE is one of the new NIH Collaboratory Demonstration Projects and is led by Drs. James A. Tulsky and Angelo Volandes with support from the National Institute on Aging. Read more about ACP PEACE.

James Tulsky from NIH Research Collaboratory on Vimeo.

 

September 5, 2018: Spotlight on a New Demonstration Project: GGC4H

Before the end of high school, more than half of all adolescents will use an illicit drug, about a quarter will meet the criteria for depression, and many others will engage in behaviors such as delinquency and violence. Guiding Good Choices is a universal evidence-based anticipatory guidance curriculum for parents of early adolescents that has been shown to reduce adolescent alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana use; depression; and delinquent behavior. Evidence-based parenting interventions shown to prevent these behavioral health concerns could improve adolescent health trajectories if implemented widely in pediatric primary care.

The Pragmatic Trial of Parent-Focused Prevention in Pediatric Primary Care: Implementation and Adolescent Health Outcomes in Three Health Systems (GGC4H: Guiding Good Choices for Health) is a cluster-randomized trial that will partner with pediatric primary care clinics to offer the training in three large, integrated healthcare systems serving socioeconomically diverse families.

“We already have an effective intervention, so we’re not trying to test whether it works or not; it’s really about getting the intervention into a population.”  —Richard Catalano, PhD, co-Principal Investigator of the GGC4H trial.

GGC4H is led by Richard Catalano, PhD, Margaret Kuklinski, PhD, and Stacy Sterling, DrPH, with support from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Read more about GGC4H.

September 4, 2018: Spotlight on a New Demonstration Project: PRIM-ER

In the United States, half of persons 65 years and older have an emergency department visit in the last month of life, and three-quarters have an emergency department visit in the last 6 months of life. Admissions to intensive care units by emergency clinicians are on the rise, especially for older patients. Meanwhile, three-quarters of older adults with serious illness have thought about end-of-life care, and only 12% want life-prolonging care.

The Primary Palliative Care for Emergency Medicine (PRIM-ER) pragmatic clinical trial will address this gap in the delivery of goal-directed emergency care of older adults. PRIM-ER will implement primary palliative care in a diverse group of 35 emergency departments. The trial will test the hypothesis that older patients with serious, life-limiting illness who receive care from clinicians with primary palliative care skills are less likely to be admitted to inpatient settings, are more likely to be discharged home or to palliative care service, and will have higher home health and hospice use, fewer inpatient days and intensive care unit admissions at 6 months, and longer survival than patients receiving care before implementation of the intervention.

“Giving emergency nurses, physician assistants, doctors the knowledge and skills they need to better care for patients with serious illness will ease symptom burden, improve quality of life, and get patients to the places where they want to be at the end of life.”

As a new addition to the NIH Collaboratory’s family of innovative Demonstration Projects, the PRIM-ER trial will feature evidence-based, multidisciplinary primary palliative care education; simulation-based workshops on communication in serious illness; clinical decision support, and provider audit and feedback.

PRIM-ER is led by principal investigator Dr. Corita Grudzen of New York University with support from the National Institute on Aging and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Watch a video interview with Dr. Grudzen, and read more about PRIM-ER.