The PATIENTS program at the University of Maryland has produced a brief videoon the role of Stakeholder Advisory Boards. Stakeholders are anyone who cares about the outcomes of a clinical study to inform healthcare decisions. The board’s purpose is to advise the study team during the course of a trial to help ensure the results are relevant and important to all stakeholders.
A Stakeholder Advisory Board comprises a diverse and balanced collection of individuals and organizations from the following groups:
Patients, caregivers, and advocacy organizations
Clinicians, nursing staff, specialists, and healthcare system administrators
Academic investigators and other researchers
Public and private healthcare payers
Policy and guideline organizations
Industry sponsors and therapeutic product developers
The 4-minute video features Ellen Tambor, MA, Senior Research Manager at the Center for Medical Technology Policy and a member of the Collaboratory’s Stakeholder Engagement Core working group.
The Clinical Trials Transformation Initiative (CTTI) has released its Annual Reportfor 2015. The report describes major achievements from the previous year, including new recommendations and related tools and checklists for improving the safety, efficiency, and overall quality of clinical research.
Highlights of the 2015 Annual Report include recommendations on topics including:
Ethics review processes
Good Clinical Practice training for trial investigators
Research protocol design
Engagement of patient groups as equal partners in clinical research
Informed consent processes
Safety reporting systems for research participants
A public-private partnership whose many stakeholders include government agencies, advocacy groups, professional societies, academic research organizations, and representatives from the medical products industry, CTTI’s mission is to “identify and promote practices that will increase the quality and efficiency of clinical trials.”
A PDF version of the report is available here. Previous Annual Reports are also available on the CTTI website.
In recent health information technology news, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), has received a 5-year National Institutes of Health award to support its launch of a cardiovascular mHealth platform. The research platform, to be named Health ePeople, will build on the successes of UCSF’s Health eHeart Study, which began in 2013. That study, with more than 30,000 participants worldwide, uses the power of mobile technologies to collect cardiovascular data and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) from study participants.
The Health ePeople platform will advance mHealth by providing researchers with easy access to a large cohort of volunteers, along with a quick, affordable means for collecting their health data through mobile and wireless technologies. Though the platform will not be ready to enroll new participants for several months, people who want to participate in the cohort can sign up through the Health eHeart Study website.
For information and short videos on mHealth technologies, visit the Living Textbook’s chapter on mHealth and PROs.
A recent article in Nature highlights the Precision Medicine Initiative, launched in January 2015 and spearheaded by the National Institutes of Health. Precision medicine is an emerging approach for disease treatment and prevention that takes into account individual variability in genes, environment, and lifestyle for each person. This initiative will involve collection of data on genomes, electronic health records, and physiological measurements from 1 million participants. A main objective is for participants to be active partners in research.
But a major decision faced by the initiative’s working group is how much information to share with participants about disease risk, particularly genetic data. Though there is much debate in the field, the article suggests that public opinion on data sharing may be shifting toward openness.
The Precision Medicine Initiative working group will be releasing a plan soon. For details on the goals of the Precision Medicine Initiative, read the perspective by NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Patients were the most commonly engaged group, followed by modest engagement of clinicians, and infrequent engagement of other stakeholders across the healthcare system.
Stakeholders were more often engaged in earlier stages of research (evidence prioritization and generation) than in later activities such as evidence interpretation and application.
Overall, reporting of stakeholder activities and the effects of engagement were highly variable in the literature. To address this, the authors developed a 7-item questionnaire for the reporting of stakeholder engagement in research. A suggested plan for future research on stakeholder engagement is also outlined.
Recently the journal Health Affairs and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) conducted a Twitter chat on the topic of patient engagement in research. The chat was an hour-long moderated question-and-answer session with Susan Sheridan, the director of patient engagement at PCORI. Participants joined the conversation via #PatientHC and talked about what patient engagement looks like and concerns about the privacy of patient health data.
The hosts referenced the journal’s 2013 theme issue on patient engagement as well as three videosproduced in partnership with PCORI that illustrate ways patients and providers are incorporating patient engagement in healthcare decisions. An archived version of the Twitter chat is here.
In August 2014, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released an action plan(link opens as a PDF) aimed at encouraging more diverse patient participation in drug and medical device clinical trials. The Action Plan to Enhance the Collection and Availability of Demographic Subgroup Data includes 27 responsive and pragmatic actions, divided into 3 overarching priorities:
Data quality: improving the completeness and quality of demographic subgroup data collection, reporting, and analysis
Participation: identifying barriers to subgroup enrollment in clinical trials and employing strategies to encourage greater participation
Transparency: making demographic subgroup data more available and transparent
The plan follows an August 2013 report to Congress on these concerns and reflects the agency’s commitment to encouraging the inclusion of a diverse patient population (with reference to sex, age, race, and ethnicity) in biomedical research that supports applications for FDA-regulated medical products. Increasing representation is a multifaceted challenge that requires a multifaceted approach and collaboration of federal partners, industry, healthcare providers, patients and patient advocacy groups, academicians, and community groups.
A messagefrom the Commissioner of the FDA contains background and details.
Although many of PCORI’s resources are dedicated to supporting CER in real-world settings, patient engagement in research is also a cornerstone of PCORI’s efforts. Of the $464 million invested, 62% has been focused on CER, with the rest spread across infrastructure (18%), methods (11%) and communication and dissemination research (8%). PCORI expects to commit $1 billion over the next 2 years to expand their work. As part of their mission, they also hope to improve research methods and build the national capacity for CER.