Tuzzio L, Meyers CM, Dember LM, Grudzen CR, Melnick ER, Staman KL, Huang SS, Richards J, DeBar L, Vazquez MA, Green BB, Coronado GD, Jarvik JG, Braciszewski J, Ho PM, Wells BL, James K, Toto R, D'Onofrio G, Volandes A, Kuklinski MR, Catalano RF, Sterling SA, Morse EF, Curtis L, and Larson EB. Accounting for quality improvement during the conduct of embedded pragmatic clinical trials within healthcare systems: NIH Collaboratory case studies. Healthc (Amst) 2021; 8 Suppl 1:100432.
Embedded pragmatic clinical trials (ePCTs) and quality improvement (QI) activities often occur simultaneously within healthcare systems (HCSs). Embedded PCTs within HCSs are conducted to test interventions and provide evidence that may impact public health, health system operations, and quality of care. They are larger and more broadly generalizable than QI initiatives, and may generate what is considered high-quality evidence for potential use in care and clinical practice guidelines. QI initiatives often co-occur with ePCTs and address the same high-impact health questions, and this co-occurrence may dilute or confound the ability to detect change as a result of the ePCT intervention. During the design, pilot, and conduct phases of the large-scale NIH Collaboratory Demonstration ePCTs, many QI initiatives occurred at the same time within the HCSs. Although the challenges varied across the projects, some common, generalizable strategies and solutions emerged, and we share these as case studies.
KEY LESSONS: Study teams often need to monitor, adapt, and respond to QI during design and the course of the trial. Routine collaboration between ePCT researchers and health systems stakeholders throughout the trial can help ensure research and QI are optimally aligned to support high-quality patient-centered care.
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