January 11, 2019: FDA Releases Framework for Evaluating the Use of Real-World Evidence

To help fulfill the requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act by accelerating medical product development and fostering innovation and advances in medicine, FDA recently created a framework for evaluating the use of real-world evidence. The framework is intended to help evaluate trials that use real-world data for the creation of real-world evidence.

  • Real-world data: routinely collected information about a person’s health status in the electronic health record, claims, registries, and other sources, including patient-generated sources.
  • Real-world evidence: reliable, clinical information derived from real-world data about risks, benefits, and burdens of therapies.

This framework will apply to various pragmatic clinical trials embedded in health care systems and conducted as part of routine care (and will not apply to more traditional clinical trials conducted parallel to care).

Three main considerations are included in the framework:

  1. Will the real-world data be fit for use (do they reliably and adequately represent the concept)?
  2. Will the evidence generated by the trial provide adequate evidence to help answer regulatory questions?
  3. Will the conduct of the study meet FDA regulatory requirements?

January 4, 2019: TRANSFORMing Research for Patients With Heart Failure (Robert Mentz, MD, Kevin Anstrom, PhD, Eric Eisenstein, DBA, Stephen Greene, MD, Eric Velazquez, MD)

Speakers

Robert J. Mentz, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine

Kevin J. Anstrom, PhD
Professor of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics
Director of Biostatistics, Duke Clinical Research Institute
Duke University School of Medicine

Eric Eisenstein, DBA
Associate Professor in Medicine
Duke University School of Medicine

Stephen J. Greene, MD
Fellow, Division of Cardiology and Duke Clinical Research Institute
Duke University School of Medicine

Eric J. Velazquez. MD, FACP, FACC, FASE, FAHA
Robert W. Berliner Professor of Medicine, Yale University
Chief, Cardiovascular Medicine, Yale New Haven Hospital
Physician-in-Chief, Heart and Vascular Center, Yale New Haven Health

Topic

TRANSFORMing Research for Patients With Heart Failure

Keywords

Pragmatic clinical trial; Heart failure; PRECIS-2; Hospitalization; TRANSFORM-HF; Clinical equipoise; Electronic health records; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

Key Points

  • The traditional approach to conducting clinical trials is unsustainable in many respects, including operational complexities, low enrollment rates, high costs, and failure to leverage existing resources. Incorporating pragmatic elements in the design of trials may improve efficiencies and conduct.
  • TRANSFORM-HF is a pragmatic trial evaluating torsemide versus furosemide treatment for long-term clinical outcomes among patients hospitalized for heart failure. Study randomization is 1:1, and the primary endpoint is all-cause mortality.
  • Advantages of trials with pragmatic designs include real-world effectiveness; broad patient/provider groups; reduced number and complexity of visits; streamlined data collection; potential for faster results; and results that will be more generalizable.

Discussion Themes

The clinical question involving starting a treatment (Should we start with furosemide or torsemide?) versus switching a treatment (Should we attempt to switch patients from furosemide to torsemide?) would seem to lead to different study designs.

While the peer review process for funding TRANSFORM-HF was challenging and required modifying the approach, it ultimately led to a better design.

Read more about PRECIS-2 domains along the explanatory-pragmatic continuum of a clinical trial in the Living Textbook.

Tags

#HeartFailure, #pctGR, @Collaboratory1, @robmentz, @SJGreene_md, @YaleCardiology, @ericjvelazquez

December 13, 2018: New Living Textbook Chapter: Developing a Compelling Grant Application

A new chapter in the Living Textbook provides expert advice for investigators submitting an application for a pragmatic clinical trial to the NIH. The chapter covers finding the right Program Official and opportunity announcement, writing a strong proposal, addressing review criteria, and award status.

“First and foremost, develop and clearly define a clinical research question with a testable hypothesis and then select an experimental design best suited to answering the research question. The study question drives the research design.” —From Developing a Compelling Grant Application

Dr. Wendy Weber, the Program Officer for the NIH Collaboratory Coordinating Center, and Dr. Marcel Salive, a Program Officer from the National Institute on Aging, contributed to this chapter.

December 11, 2018: Two New NIH Funding Opportunity Announcements for Pragmatic Trials Address the Opioid Crisis

The NIH has announced two new funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) for 7 or more embedded pragmatic clinical trials that address pain management and the opioid crisis. These projects will become part of the NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory as phased UG3/UH3 cooperative research.

The two announcements are:

The announcements are part of the NIH Heal (Helping to End Addiction Long-term) Initiative, which was created in April 2018 in an effort to speed scientific solutions for addressing the national opioid public health crisis.

December 7, 2018: Cluster Randomized Trials in Health Care Delivery Systems: Lessons from STIC2IT (Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD)

Speaker

Niteesh K. Choudhry, MD, PhD
Professor, Harvard Medical School
Executive Director, Center for Healthcare Delivery Sciences, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Topic

Cluster Randomized Trials in Health Care Delivery Systems: Lessons from STIC2IT

Keywords

STIC2IT; Pragmatic clinical trial; Learning health system; Cluster randomization; Medication adherence; Telepharmacy; Electronic health record; Stakeholder engagement

Key Points

  • STIC2IT, a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial, evaluated a telepharmacy intervention to improve medication adherence for people with chronic diseases.
  • Pragmatic aspects of STIC2IT included outcomes assessed using routinely collected data, cluster randomization by physician practice, intention-to-treat analysis, and use of the EHR to collect research data.
  •  While medication adherence did improve in the STIC2IT intervention group, secondary clinical outcomes did not improve. Future trials within health systems should incorporate multilevel engagement across the health system, physicians and staff, and patients.

Discussion Themes

It is important to do ongoing outreach at the health system leadership level to ensure understanding and commitment to the study and keep providers aware of the trial. Study teams should be mindful of the priorities of their partner health system.

Using the EHR for research data required some upfront work building special modules and generating custom reports.

For more information on conducting PCTs in health delivery systems, visit the Living Textbook chapter on engaging stakeholders and building partnerships.

Tags

@Collaboratory1, #pctGR, #HarvardMed, #telepharmacy

November 16, 2018: Primary Palliative Care for Emergency Medicine (PRIM-ER) (Corita Grudzen, MD, MSHS)

Speaker

Corita R. Grudzen, MD, MSHS, FACEP
Vice Chair for Research
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Population Health
Ronald O. Perelman Department of Emergency Medicine
NYU School of Medicine

Topic

Primary Palliative Care for Emergency Medicine (PRIM-ER)

Keywords

PRIM-ER; Emergency department; Palliative care; Demonstration project; Pragmatic trial; Stepped-wedge study design; Clinical decision support; Best practice alerts; Advance care planning

Key Point

  • The PRIM-ER trial is a pragmatic, cluster-randomized, stepped wedge Demonstration Project that will implement primary palliative care in emergency medicine across a diverse group of 35 emergency departments (EDs).
  • PRIM-ER’s clinical decision support intervention is tailored to each ED site. The study aims to enable system, organizational, and provider change in the emergency department workflow.
  • The study team is identifying and preparing site champions by conducting communication skills training in serious illness for emergency physicians and staff using the EM Talk program.

Discussion Themes

It is important to consider sustainability of the intervention during the planning phase of the trial. Plan for staff turnover and how new staff will be educated and oriented to the intervention.

The volume and sophistication of best practice alerts (BPAs) received by physicians varies across U.S. emergency departments. Alert “fatigue” can be a concern.

For more information on the PRIM-ER Demonstration Project, visit the PRIM-ER website on the Living Textbook.

Tags

@Collaboratory1, #pctGR, #EmergencyMedicine

November 13, 2018: Summary of Workshop on Pragmatic Trials of Therapeutic A vs B Interventions Now Available

The NIH Collaboratory recently convened a workshop to explore embedded pragmatic clinical trials comparing two or more therapeutic medical interventions. These “A vs B” trials are meant to test existing, viable treatment alternatives where there is uncertainty about which treatment is best in which populations. There are unique barriers that make these types of pragmatic trials especially challenging to implement. For the workshop, a panel of experts gathered to discuss challenges and solutions regarding partnering with healthcare systems to conduct the trials, unique legal and ethical issues, and design and operational considerations. The summary of the workshop is now available: Workshop Summary: Embedded Pragmatic Clinical Trials of Therapeutic A vs. B Interventions

 

Additional Resources:

Embedded pragmatic clinical trials of therapeutic A vs. B interventions workshop videocast.

 

September 28, 2018: Assessing and Reducing Risk of Re-identification When Sharing Sensitive Research Datasets (Greg Simon, MD, MPH, Deven McGraw, JD, MPH, Khaled El Emam, PhD)

Speakers

Gregory Simon MD, MPH
Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Deven McGraw, JD, MPH, LLM
General Counsel & Chief Regulatory Officer, Ciitizen

Khaled El Emam, PhD
Department of Pediatrics, University of Ottawa
Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute

Topic

Assessing and Reducing Risk of Re-identification When Sharing Sensitive Research Datasets

Keywords

Clinical trials; Research ethics; Data security; Data sharing; Sensitive research data; De-identified data

Key Points

  • The cycle of risk de-identification involves setting a risk threshold, measuring the risk, evaluating the risk, and applying transformations to reduce the risk.
  • The Safe Harbor method of de-identification (removal of 18 categories of data) is a legal minimum standard that does not take context into account, and may not be sufficient when sharing sensitive data publicly.
  • A higher standard for de-identification is the “Expert Determination” method, whereby an expert with contextual knowledge of the broader data ecosystem can determine whether the risk is “not greater than very small.”
  • With increasing concern about the risks of sensitive data sharing, it is important to be transparent with data participants and continue to build trust for data uses.

Discussion Themes

When is a dataset safe for sharing? What is the risk of re-identification, and how can we reduce the risk? Consider who you are releasing the data to and what other kinds of data might they have access to that could potentially lead to re-identification.

For more information on the de-identification of protected health information, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s Guidance Regarding Methods for De-identification of Protected Health Information in Accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Privacy Rule.

The Health Information Trust Alliance de-identification framework identifies 12 criteria for a successful de-identification program and methodology.

Tags

#pctGR, #PragmaticTrials, #HealthData, @HealthPrivacy @Collaboratory1, @PCTGrandRounds

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.

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)