Can randomised controlled trials be more efficient?

In a previous blog, we discussed the value of reducing waste by conducting appropriate and timely systematic reviews. But how might we increase research efficiency? Well-conducted randomised controlled trials remain the most reliable way to demonstrate the true efficacy and cost-effectiveness for the majority of medical treatments. However, they are not without limitations. The average … More Can randomised controlled trials be more efficient?

How often are outcomes switched in clinical trials? And why does it matter?

Kamal R. Mahtani and Ben Goldacre, part of the COMPare project, write about the prevalence of outcome switching and why it matters. We have been monitoring outcome switching in five top journals, and writing letters to correct the record wherever we have found misreporting. You can read more about our project here, here and here. One peculiar response has been: “you’ve … More How often are outcomes switched in clinical trials? And why does it matter?

Utilising systematic reviews: is another trial necessary or ethical?

You don’t have to look too far to see the benefits of systematic reviews and their summary results. The well known Cochrane logo depicts a real example, highlighting the value of systematically pooling data for meta-analysis and in this case demonstrating the clear benefit of corticosteroids in accelerating lung maturation in preterm babies. Systematic reviews … More Utilising systematic reviews: is another trial necessary or ethical?

Selective reporting bias: types, impact and ways to reduce it

Selective reporting of outcomes is just one type of reporting bias and there are a number of ways in which it can arise. In the previous linked blog we gave an example of the effect of selective reporting bias through under-reporting of data. So what could have been done to avoid the “SwitchBP” scenario? Perhaps … More Selective reporting bias: types, impact and ways to reduce it

Selective reporting bias: do you really need to report every outcome?

A large part of being a scientist is venturing into the unknown. You come up with hypotheses and test them through experiments. The problem is that more often than not, the experiments don’t work. By that I mean that they don’t give you the BIG interesting outcome you were hoping for, the one that will … More Selective reporting bias: do you really need to report every outcome?

NHS spending review: give with one hand….

This week the chancellor George Osborne delivered his Governments spending review. For many, eyes were firmly fixed on matters related to the NHS. The first priority of this government is the first priority of the British people – our National Health Service. he said in his speech. Faced with £22 billion worth of efficiency savings, … More NHS spending review: give with one hand….

Research methods & reporting tools

I noticed this on twitter from the Research to Publication eLearning programme at the BMJ. A really helpful resource for research and teaching: (thanks BMJ)   How to estimate the health benefits of additional research and changing clinical practice Published November 25, 2015 Three simple rules to ensure reasonably credible subgroup analyses Published November 04, 2015 STARD … More Research methods & reporting tools

Is there enough patient and public involvement in medical education?

As a GP my duties as a doctor include working in partnership with patients. As a researcher I am increasingly aware and in natural agreement with the involvement of patients and members of the public in all stages of applied research. The NIHR INVOLVE team, which encourages active public involvement in NHS, public health and social care research programs, is … More Is there enough patient and public involvement in medical education?