March 13, 2019: PROVEN Publishes Study of Nursing Home Characteristics Associated With Implementation of an Advance Care Planning Video Intervention

The Collaboratory Demonstration Project Pragmatic Trial of Video Education in Nursing Homes (PROVEN) is testing the effectiveness of a novel advance care planning (ACP) video education program in 360 nursing homes within 2 large nursing home healthcare systems. The investigators of PROVEN recently published a study that examines the characteristics of nursing homes associated with implementation of the video. They found that lower quality nursing homes (rated 1 star) had lower offer rates than higher quality nursing homes, suggesting that ongoing support might be necessary in these settings, as well as engagement with a local champion.

ACP is a process by which individuals define their future goals and preferences for medical treatment at the end of life and discuss these goals with their family and healthcare providers. ACP is especially important for nursing home residents, who often receive unnecessary care and experience burdensome transitions at the end of life. The ACP intervention in PROVEN is delivered by an onsite champion at the facility—usually a social worker with structured training in how and when to offer and show the ACP videos to residents and families.

 “These results have implications for future pragmatic trials in the NH [nursing home] setting because ongoing engagement between research and NH staff appears crucial for successful integration of interventions into routine clinical practice. Future research is needed to understand how to best engage NHs in implementation and encourage communication between NHs to share pragmatic strategies for improving clinical practice without the support of research staff.”

– Loomer et al. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association

March 6, 2018: Results of the Active Bathing to Eliminate (ABATE) Infection Trial Published in The Lancet

The Active Bathing to Eliminate (ABATE) Infection trial compared routine bathing to decolonization with universal chlorhexidine and targeted nasal mupirocin in non-critical-care units. Similar interventions have been found to reduce multidrug-resistant pathogens and bloodstream infections in intensive care units (ICUs), and this was the first large-scale trial in non-critical-care units. The primary outcome was methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) or vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE) clinical cultures attributed to participating units.

“We found that universal decolonization did not reduce infection in the overall population, but in post-hoc analyses of patients with medical devices the regimen was associated with significant reductions in all-cause bloodstream infections and MRSA or VRE clinical cultures.” —Huang et al. The Lancet 2019

The ABATE Infection trial was a large-scale pragmatic trial involving approximately189,000 patients in the baseline period and 340,000 patients in the intervention period across 194 non-critical-care units in 53 hospitals. The trial was one of the first NIH Collaboratory Demonstration Projects, and in keeping with the Collaboratory’s mission, the investigators have helped expand the knowledge base about the design, conduct, and dissemination of pragmatic clinical trials.

February 21, 2019: Living Textbook Offers New Content on Design and Analysis of Pragmatic Clinical Trials

Members of the NIH Collaboratory’s Biostatistics and Study Design Core contributed 3 new sections to the Living Textbook exploring issues in the design and analysis of pragmatic clinical trials. The new sections offer insights into emerging issues in embedded pragmatic clinical trials and lessons learned from the NIH Collaboratory’s first round of Demonstration Projects.

  • The Designing to Avoid Identification Bias section addresses a type of selection bias that can occur in pragmatic clinical trials that use information from electronic health records to determine study population eligibility and in which the study intervention influences who undergoes screening or receives a diagnosis in clinical care.
  • The Alternative Cluster Randomized Designs section describes alternative design choices for cluster randomized trials and their implications for statistical power and sample size calculations. Modified cluster randomized designs, such as cluster randomization with crossover, may reduce the sample size required for a pragmatic clinical trial and may be particularly feasible in trials embedded in healthcare systems with electronic health records.
  • Case Study: STOP CRC Trial explores challenges in design and analysis that were faced in the Strategies and Opportunities to Stop Colorectal Cancer in Priority Populations (STOP CRC) trial, one of the NIH Collaboratory Demonstration Projects. The case study illustrates how the study team dealt with pragmatic issues during the planning and conduct of the trial.

In addition to contributing content to the Living Textbook, the Biostatistics and Study Design Core works with the NIH Collaboratory Demonstration Projects to address challenges in their statistical plans and study designs during the planning phase and to develop guidance and technical documents related to study design and biostatistical issues relevant to pragmatic clinical trials.

February 1, 2019: Promoting Effective Advance Care Planning Communication in the Elderly: The ACP-PEACE Trial (James Tulsky, MD, Angelo Volandes, MD, MPH)

Speakers

James Tulsky, MD
Chair, Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Chief, Division of Palliative Medicine
Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Angelo Volandes, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School

Topic

Promoting Effective Advance Care Planning Communication in the Elderly: The ACP-PEACE Trial

Keywords

Pragmatic clinical trial; Advance care planning; ACP PEACE; Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; National Institute on Aging; Palliative care; Video declarations; Goal-concordant care; Patient preferences

Key Points

  • Many people with serious illness die without receiving goal-concordant care, and patients over the age of 65 with cancer experience this disproportionately. Helping patients engage in advance care planning (ACP) can empower them to express and record their goals so that their care can be aligned with their preferences.
  • The ACP PEACE Demonstration Project is a pragmatic, stepped-wedge, randomized trial of a comprehensive ACP program in oncology clinics at 3 health systems. It will involve a combination of 2 evidence-based programs:
    • VitalTalk teaches clinicians important communication skills in having empathic conversations with seriously ill patients.
    • ACP Decisions uses videos to promote planning and decision-making by patients and families.
  • The ACP PEACE study will monitor long-term outcomes to evaluate whether patients received the care they planned for and wanted.

Discussion Themes

The last element of the ACP PEACE trial is a video declaration (ViDec), recorded by a subset of patients. In recording the ViDec, patients are prompted by questions assessing their confidence with their decision, satisfaction, decisional regret, and patient-provider experience.

The ACP PEACE study team has a scaling strategy in place if the intervention proves effective. Implementing the intervention as standard of care will involve a culture shift from what is currently expected in health systems.

Read more about the ACP PEACE Demonstration Project in the Living Textbook.

Tags

#AdvanceCarePlanning, #pctGR, @Collaboratory1 @VitalTalk, @ACPDecisions

January 18, 2019: Pragmatic Trials in End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD): HiLo (Myles Wolf, MD, MMSc)

Speaker

Myles Wolf, MD, MMSc
Charles Johnson, MD, Professor of Medicine
Chief, Duke Nephrology
Duke University School of Medicine

Topic

Pragmatic Trials in End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD): HiLo

Keywords

Pragmatic clinical trial; HiLo; End-stage renal disease; ESRD; Kidney disease; Hypophosphatemia; Serum phosphate; Hemodialysis; A vs B trials; Clinical equipoise; National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; NIDDK

Key Points

  • With high event rates and few proven therapies, patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are in desperate need of clinical innovation.
  • The NIH Collaboratory’s HiLo Demonstration Project is a pragmatic, multicenter, cluster-randomized, open-label, noninferiority outcomes trial that will compare effects of two different phosphate management strategies in patients with ESRD.
  • The study hypothesizes that, compared with strict phosphate control, less stringent control will yield noninferior rates of all-cause hospitalization among patients with ESRD undergoing hemodialysis, as well as reduce the risk of all-cause mortality, enhance markers of diet and nutrition, and improve quality of life.

Discussion Themes

Dialysis clinic dieticians will have a pivotal role in implementing HiLo. They have established a rapport with patients and are among the most motivated caregivers on dialysis teams.

Individual patient-level informed consent for the HiLo trial will be via internet-linked tablets, paper forms, and educational materials including a video. Benefits of obtaining consent include promoting adherence, direct study updates and newsletters to participants, and ability to collect additional data without involving onsite study staff.

HiLo will be the first definitive clinical trial-grade evidence for opinion-based guidelines for phosphate management. Thus, results of HiLo have the potential to rapidly influence ESRD clinical practice.

Read more about the HiLo Demonstration Project in the Living Textbook.

Tags

#ESRD, #pctGR, @Collaboratory1, @DCRINews, @DukeKidney

January 22, 2019: New Self-Paced ePCT Training Course Available

The NIH Collaboratory is pleased to announce the availability of a new self-paced, 10-module introductory course on how to design, conduct, and disseminate embedded PCTs (ePCTs). This course presents condensed material from the inaugural ePCT Training Workshop held in 2018 and provides users with important things to know and do when designing an ePCT, along with helpful links to additional learning resources within the Living Textbook.

Also available in the Living Textbook are links to videocast workshops hosted by the NIH on a range of ePCT topics including:

  • Embedded PCTs of therapeutic A versus B interventions
  • Unique opportunities for disseminating, implementing, and sustaining evidence-based practices into clinical care
  • Ethical and regulatory issues of PCTs

For these and other ePCT resources, visit the Training Resources webpage.

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

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.

August 23, 2018: PROVEN Team Uses PRECIS-2 to Evaluate Ongoing Trial Implementation

A tool used to rate how the design of a pragmatic clinical trial will influence the real-world applicability of its results can also be used in real time to assess the impact of changes in trial implementation, a recent study published in Trials found.

When designing a pragmatic trial to test the effectiveness of an intervention under “real-world” conditions, researchers use the Pragmatic Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary-2 (PRECIS-2) to assess how a variety of design features may affect the applicability of trial results for the intended users. A pragmatic trial differs from a traditional “explanatory” trial, which tests the efficacy of an intervention under ideal conditions. PRECIS-2 rates design features on a scale from “explanatory” to “pragmatic” within several domains. The end users of trial results, such as health care systems, may need the results to be more or less “pragmatic” on the explanatory–pragmatic spectrum in order to implement the intervention in their own care delivery settings.

In a novel effort, researchers with the Pragmatic Trial of Video Education in Nursing Homes (PROVEN) used PRECIS-2 during the conduct of the trial to assess the effects of midtrial changes in implementation. PROVEN, an ongoing NIH Collaboratory Demonstration Project, is a pragmatic, cluster randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of video-assisted decision support tools for advance care planning in nursing homes.

In the initial design of PROVEN, design features in the implementation-focused domains of PRECIS-2 were relatively pragmatic, especially in the domain measuring flexibility in the delivery of the intervention. As the trial progressed, adaptations in implementation that were necessary to address challenges in monitoring and protocol adherence led to more explanatory approaches. The investigators concluded that some pragmatic trials, such as those conducted in complex health care systems like nursing homes, “may benefit from a more dynamic approach to implementation which allows for fluidity between pragmatic and explanatory features.” PRECIS-2 can be useful in evaluating the impact of midtrial adaptations with these dynamic approaches to trial implementation.

PROVEN is one of the first large-scale pragmatic trials to be conducted in nursing homes. Learn more about PRECIS-2 in the Living Textbook.