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 Workshop attendees will discuss considerations for development and submission of a proposed draft guidance regarding patient experience data submitted by an external stakeholder.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.
The groundbreaking “All of Us” research program, which aims to enroll and track more than a million people, is asking prospective researchers, community organizations, and citizen scientists for suggestions regarding potential research questions. Ideas can be submitted through a special research page and are due by February 23, 2018. At a Research Priorities Workshop in March 2018, meeting attendees will use the input to set research priorities that will drive the development of the All of Us research platform and associated tools.
At the NIH Collaboratory Steering Committee meeting in May 2017, we asked Ellen Tambor, a member of the Stakeholder Engagement Core, to reflect on the first 5 years of the Core’s work and the challenges ahead. She says it’s key for stakeholder engagement to take place throughout the entire healthcare system, from leadership to the frontline providers and staff. And, because of the nature of pragmatic trials conducted in clinical settings, engagement is essential from the early stages through trial completion. Tambor also suggests asking two questions to ensure the right people are involved throughout pragmatic research: Who is going to use the evidence that results from the study? Who will help ensure that the study is implemented as seamlessly as possible?
“Pragmatic trials take stakeholder engagement to a new level of importance in terms of both the scope of engagement and the array of potential stakeholders.” Ellen Tambor
In a forthcoming article in Healthcare, Dr. Eric Larson and colleagues present practical advice based on case studies from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. Physician–scientists, health services researchers, and delivery system leaders provide insight from their experience launching a pragmatic clinical trial (PCT) as part of the Collaboratory.
The authors make 5 recommendations:
- Establish a partnership from the get-go
- Do a pilot project
- Take advantage of existing hospital and health system infrastructure
- Minimize the impact on clinical workflow
- Remember that even high-priority research questions must be balanced with the systems’ greatest priority: providing good healthcare to patients.
The authors note that researchers need to be flexible and prepared to adjust the study design to the workflow and culture of the system.
Reference: Larson E, Tachibana C, Thompson E, et al. Trials without tribulations: Minimizing the burden of pragmatic research on healthcare systems. Healthcare. 2015; in press. doi:10.1016/j.hjdsi.2015.07.005
Watch Dr. Larson’s Grand Rounds Presentation from June 2013: Trials, Not Tribulations: Minimizing the Burden of Research on Health Care Systems
This month’s issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine features a systematic review of stakeholder engagement in comparative effectiveness research and patient-centered outcomes research. Thomas W. Concannon, PhD, and coauthors identified 70 peer-reviewed articles since 2003 that reported on this topic.
Key results included:
- Patients were the most commonly engaged group, followed by modest engagement of clinicians, and infrequent engagement of other stakeholders across the healthcare system.
- Stakeholders were more often engaged in earlier stages of research (evidence prioritization and generation) than in later activities such as evidence interpretation and application.
Overall, reporting of stakeholder activities and the effects of engagement were highly variable in the literature. To address this, the authors developed a 7-item questionnaire for the reporting of stakeholder engagement in research. A suggested plan for future research on stakeholder engagement is also outlined.