February 14, 2020: Do Our Current Research Models Meet the Needs of a Learning Health Care System? (David Atkins, MD, MPH)

Speaker

David Atkins, MD, MPH
Director, Health Services Research and Development
Office of Research and Development
Department of Veterans Affairs

Topic

Do Our Current Research Models Meet the Needs of a Learning Health Care System?

Keywords

Learning health system; Research collaborations; Veterans Affairs

Key Points

  • A unique advantage of the VA is that it is an integrated, publicly funded healthcare system with social, educational, housing, and disability services and benefits. Yet the changing political environment and leadership turnover make it hard to align with operations.
  • In a learning healthcare system, learning happens continuously, in real time. Embedded researchers are needed because they bring a deeper knowledge of data, design, inference, and objectivity.
  • Solutions include new funding mechanisms, new models for research that involve health system partnerships, new incentives for better impact, and enhanced attention to implementation.

Discussion Themes

Deep health system partnerships cannot be mandated; they must be built from the ground up.

Are there ways to develop meaningful incentives for investigators to participate in collaboratory-like enterprises to compete with the current incentives to get their own work done?

Learn more about large-scale pragmatic clinical research at the Pain Management Collaboratory, a joint initiative of the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Tags
#pctGR, @Collaboratory1

February 11, 2020: ADAPTABLE Roundtable Produces Consensus Statement on Analysis and Integration of Patient-Reported Data in Clinical Trials

A roundtable discussion organized by the NIH Collaboratory in 2017 has produced consensus findings on the analysis and integration of patient-reported health (PRH) data in clinical trials. The report is part of an effort by the ADAPTABLE Supplement project team “to address best practices for capturing PRH data in pragmatic studies and optimal analytic approaches for integrating PRH with other data sources.”

The consensus statement was published online ahead of print this month in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

The report discusses strengths and limitations of PRH data, approaches for ascertaining and classifying study end points, and methods for addressing incompleteness, data alignment, and data concordance. Roundtable participants used experiences from the ADAPTABLE trial as a case study to inform their discussions.

ADAPTABLE, the first major randomized comparative effectiveness trial conducted by the National Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet), seeks to determine the optimal dose of aspirin therapy for secondary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. The trial relies on both existing EHR data sources and PRH data.

This work was supported by a supplemental grant award to the NIH Collaboratory Coordinating Center from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

January 31, 2020: Living Textbook Grand Rounds Series Part 1: Pragmatic Clinical Trials: How Do I Start? (Lesley H. Curtis, PhD, Greg Simon, MD, MPH)

Speakers

Greg Simon, MD, MPH
Senior Investigator
Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute

Lesley H. Curtis, PhD
Chair and Professor
Department of Population Health Sciences
Duke University School of Medicine
Interim Executive Director, Duke Clinical Research Institute

Topic

Pragmatic Clinical Trials: How Do I Start?

Keywords

Pragmatic clinical trials; PRECIS-2; Real-world evidence; Health systems research; Stakeholders; Clinical workflow; Study team

Key Points

  • Embedded pragmatic clinical trials (ePCTs) are large, efficient studies conducted in the real world that provide evidence for adoption of an intervention into clinical practice.
  • ePCTs are conducted in partnership with healthcare systems, use streamlined procedures and existing infrastructure, and answer important medical questions. However, high relevance to real-world decision-making can sometimes come at the expense of trial efficiency.
  • The PRECIS-2 scores are not absolute virtues; rather, the tool helps researchers determine if their trial is fit for purpose based on their study question.
  • For greater generalizability, ePCTs should be conducted in a diverse range of patients, and study results should be reported transparently.

Discussion Themes

How might we support health systems that serve more diverse populations to participate in a pragmatic clinical trial?

What concerns might be voiced by health system leaders regarding potential reputational risk of a PCT, and perhaps downstream issues about the results publication?

The question “Can everyone do this study?” is different from “Can everyone believe the research results?”

To see upcoming topics in the Living Textbook Grand Rounds series, download the flyer and share with your colleagues and institution. To learn more about the fundamentals of designing and launching a successful ePCT visit the Living Textbook.

Tags
#pctGR, @Collaboratory1

January 30, 2020: Meeting Materials from the NIH Collaboratory PRISM Kickoff Meeting

The Collaboratory has made available all the presentations from their recent PRISM Kickoff meeting held in Bethesda November 19-20, 2019.

PRISM Demonstration Project Investigators
Left to right: Kathleen Sluka, PT, PhD (FM TIPS); Andrea Cheville, MD (NOHARM); Karen Sherman, PhD, MPH (AcuOA); Jon Tilburt, MD (NOHARM); Lynn DeBar, PhD, MPH (AcuOA); Leslie Crofford, MD (FM TIPS); and Natalia Morone, MD (OPTIMUM).

The PRISM (Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain to Reduce Opioid Prescribing) program is a component of the NIH HEAL Initiative to address the opioid crisis. Highlights of Day 1 included welcoming the 4 new PRISM UG3 Demonstration Projects—AcuOA, FM TIPS, NOHARM, and OPTIMUM—and introducing the study teams to the NIH Collaboratory Program and Coordinating Center, hearing an overview of the HEAL Initiative goals and cooperative agreement, and learning about the aims of the new studies. Day 2 included face-to-face meetings between each PRISM Demonstration Project and the Collaboratory Core working groups to discuss anticipated challenges in design, implementation, analysis, and dissemination.

View or download the meeting materials on the website.

 

 

January 24, 2020: Cardiovascular Trials Over 2 Decades: Progress on Pragmatism? (Justin A. Ezekowitz, MBBCh, MSc)

Speaker

Justin A. Ezekowitz, MBBCh, MSc
Professor, Department of Medicine
Co-Director, Canadian VIGOUR Centre
Director, Cardiovascular Research, University of Alberta
Cardiologist, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute

Topic

Cardiovascular Trials Over 2 Decades: Progress on Pragmatism?

Keywords

Pragmatic clinical trials; PRECIS-2; Cardiovascular trials; Enrollment of women

Key Points

  • Pragmatic clinical trials are “designed for the primary purpose of informing decision-makers regarding the comparative balance of benefits, burdens and risks of a biomedical or behavioral health intervention at the individual or population level” (Califf & Sugarman, 2015).
  • This study examined how pragmatic or explanatory cardiovascular (CV) randomized controlled trials are; whether the level of pragmatism in CV trials has changed over 2 decades; and whether the proportion of women enrolled in CV trials has changed over 2 decades.
  • No clinical trial is completely explanatory or pragmatic. In this study, trials that scored higher on pragmatism (using the PRECIS-2 tool) had more sites, a larger sample size, longer follow up, and mortality as a primary endpoint.

Discussion Themes

Randomized controlled trials that were published in general medicine journals scored higher in pragmatism than those published in CV journals. Pragmatism has increased over time in CV trials.

While women account for ~45% of the burden of CV diseases, they are underrepresented in CV randomized controlled trials, with less than one-third of trial participants. There was no difference between pragmatic trials and other trials in terms of women’s enrollment.

Initiatives that focus on patient, clinician, and trial design factors are needed to address the gender gap in trial enrollment.

Read more about the PRECIS-2 tool in the Living Textbook, and Dr. Ezekowitz’s research in Trends in the Explanatory or Pragmatic Nature of Cardiovascular Clinical Trials Over 2 Decades (JAMA Cardiology, 2019).

Tags
#pctGR, @Collaboratory1

January 8, 2020: Registration Opens for 13th Annual Conference on Statistical Issues in Clinical Trials

Registration opened on January 1 for the 13th Annual University of Pennsylvania Conference on Statistical Issues in Clinical Trials. The theme of this year’s conference is “Cluster Randomized Clinical Trials: Challenges and Opportunities.”

The conference will be held on April 29 at the Smilow Center for Translational Research on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia. Cosponsors include the American Statistical Association, the Society for Clinical Trials, and the National Institute of Statistical Sciences.

During the methods portion of the program, NIH Collaboratory investigator David Murray will present “Overview: Innovations in the Design and Analysis of Group- or Cluster-Randomized Trials.” The program also includes presentations on the uses of network- and individual-level information in design and analysis, the complexity introduced by noncompliance, current issues in stepped-wedge designs, and various applications of statistical techniques in cluster randomized studies.

Registration is required for this daylong event.

December 13, 2019: Reissuance of Funding Opportunity Announcement for HEAL Initiative/PRISM Coming January 2020

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), with other NIH Institutes, Centers, and Offices, intends to reissue Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) HEAL Initiative: Pragmatic and Implementation Studies for the Management of Pain To Reduce Opioid Prescribing (PRISM) (UG3/UH3 Clinical Trial Optional).

This RFA solicits applications for phased cooperative research applications to conduct efficient, large-scale pragmatic or implementation trials to improve pain management and reduce the unnecessary use of opioid medications in the health care delivery setting. The re-issuance of the FOA will prioritize the following areas for pragmatic trials to integrate multimodal or multiple interventions that have demonstrated efficacy into health care systems or implement health care system changes to improve adherence to evidence-based guidelines:

  • Pain management in emergency departments, dental clinics, primary care, and hospitals
  • Chronic overlapping pain conditions
  • Pain management in individuals at risk of or with opioid use disorder
  • Pain management in those with co-occurring mental health disorders
  • Noncancer pain management in persons with medical comorbid conditions

The FOA is expected to be published in January 2020 with an expected application due date in March 2020.

The announcement is 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 13, 2019: New ePCT Training Materials Focus on Nephrology Research

Presentations from a recent seminar offered by the NIH Collaboratory in partnership with the American Society of Nephrology are now available on the Living Textbook. The seminar, Embedded Pragmatic Clinical Trials: Accelerating Evidence Generation in Nephrology, was held at ASN Kidney Week 2019. The sessions provide an introduction to concepts in the design of embedded pragmatic clinical trials (ePCTs), with a focus on interventions that are relevant to the nephrology research community.

Visit the NIH Collaboratory Training Resources to download the presentations.

November 1, 2019: NIH Collaboratory: Looking Back, Looking Forward (Adrian Hernandez, MD, MHS, Lesley Curtis, PhD, Kevin Weinfurt, PhD)

Speakers

Adrian F. Hernandez, MD, MHS
Professor of Medicine
Vice Dean for Clinical Research
Duke University School of Medicine

Lesley H. Curtis, PhD
Chair and Professor
Department of Population Health Sciences
Duke University School of Medicine
Interim Executive Director, Duke Clinical Research Institute

Kevin Weinfurt, PhD
Professor and Vice Chair of Research
Department of Population Health Sciences
Duke University School of Medicine

Topic

NIH Collaboratory: Looking Back, Looking Forward

Keywords

Embedded pragmatic clinical trials; ePCTs; NIH Collaboratory; Health care systems research; Demonstration Projects; Living Textbook; HEAL Initiative; Coordinating Center; Research dissemination; Learning health systems; Real-world evidence

Key Points

Discussion Themes

How can we harmonize the different ideas about what it is to be “pragmatic” for NIH study sections, IRBs, and DSMB reviews? For example, if your DSMB isn’t knowledgeable about PCTs, you could end up with a very explanatory trial.

A willingness to share imperfections is an important part of learning and helps the clinical trial ecosystem evolve.

An important future topic would be how the NIH Collaboratory and PCORnet fit together.

Read more about the NIH Collaboratory Program and the Living Textbook of Pragmatic Clinical Trials.

Tags
#pctGR, #PragmaticTrials, @Collaboratory1, @texhern, @lmhcurtis, @KevinWeinfurt

October 30, 2019: Baseline Covariate Imbalance Influences Treatment Effect Bias in Cluster Randomized Trials

In a study supported by the NIH Collaboratory, researchers found that imbalance in individual-level baseline covariates influences bias in the observed treatment effect in cluster randomized trials. Using race as an example, the study highlights the importance of reducing covariate imbalance in the design stage of cluster randomized trials and of using statistical analysis techniques to minimize the resulting bias.

The innovative study, published in Contemporary Clinical Trials, used computer simulation models validated by real-data simulations from a large clinical trial to examine the influence of baseline covariate imbalance on treatment effect bias. They found that bias was proportional to the degree of baseline covariate imbalance and the covariate effect size. In the simulations, trials with larger numbers of clusters had less covariate imbalance. Statistical models that adjusted for important baseline confounders were more effective than unadjusted models in minimizing bias.

The authors recommend several design approaches and statistical analysis techniques for both reducing covariate imbalance and minimizing bias. Using the results of available prior data can help researchers identify important baseline confounders when designing cluster randomized trials.

This work was supported within the NIH Collaboratory by the NIH Common Fund through a cooperative agreement from the Office of Strategic Coordination within the Office of the NIH Director, and by a research supplement from the NIH Common Fund to promote diversity in health-related research.