December 12, 2019: Two New Studies Highlight Feasibility of Using the Distributed Research Network to Support Pragmatic Trials

Two new studies from the NIH Collaboratory’s Distributed Research Network (DRN) demonstrated the feasibility of using administrative data and claims to define populations, identify outcomes, and generate hypotheses in support of pragmatic clinical trials and other prospective studies.

In an analysis of data for 53,000,000 patients from 3 health insurers, researchers evaluated the feasibility of using claims to identify the incidence of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). The findings highlight challenges with the administrative codes currently used by clinicians to identify CIPN. The data may also be helpful in generating hypotheses about risk factors and treatment effectiveness in future research.

The study was supported by a grant from the National Cancer Institute and was published online ahead of print in Supportive Care in Cancer.

In another study from the DRN, published last week in PLoS One, researchers used health plan data for more than 750,000 patients to investigate statin use in older adults with and without cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes. Evidence for the appropriateness of statin use in adults older than 75 years is limited. The researchers found that statin initiation was low in the study population, especially for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, suggesting an opportunity to conduct large pragmatic trials to develop better evidence for clinical guidelines.

Support for both studies was provided 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.