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)


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


Pragmatic Clinical Trials: How Do I Start?


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.

#pctGR, @Collaboratory1