Improving the efficiency and effectiveness of pragmatic clinical trials in older adults in the United States

Contemp Clin Trials. 2012 Nov;33(6):1211-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2012.07.002. Epub 2012 Jul 5.


Pragmatic clinical trials (PCTs) seek to improve the generalizability and increase the statistical power of traditional explanatory trials. They are a major tenet of comparative effectiveness research. While a powerful study design, PCTs have been limited by high cost, modest efficiency, and limited ability to fill relevant evidence gaps. Based on an American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) supported meeting of national stakeholders, we propose several innovations and future research that could improve the efficiency and effectiveness of such studies focused in the U.S. Innovations discussed include optimizing the use of community based practices through partnership with Practice Based Research Networks (PBRNs), using information technology to simplify PCT subject recruitment, consent and randomization processes, and utilizing linkages to large administrative databases, such as Medicare, as a mechanism to capture outcomes and other important PCT variables with lower subject and research team burden. Testing and adaptation of such innovations to PCT are anticipated to improve the public health value of these increasingly important studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods*
  • Community Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research / organization & administration*
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • United States