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      Engineering practice variation through provider agreement: a cluster-randomized feasibility trial

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          Abstract

          Purpose

          Minimal-risk randomized trials that can be embedded in practice could facilitate learning health-care systems. A cluster-randomized design was proposed to compare treatment strategies by assigning clusters (eg, providers) to “favor” a particular drug, with providers retaining autonomy for specific patients. Patient informed consent might be waived, broadening inclusion. However, it is not known if providers will adhere to the assignment or whether institutional review boards will waive consent. We evaluated the feasibility of this trial design.

          Subjects and methods

          Agreeable providers were randomized to “favor” either hydrochlorothiazide or chlorthalidone when starting patients on thiazide-type therapy for hypertension. The assignment applied when the provider had already decided to start a thiazide, and providers could deviate from the strategy as needed. Prescriptions were aggregated to produce a provider strategy-adherence rate.

          Results

          All four institutional review boards waived documentation of patient consent. Providers (n=18) followed their assigned strategy for most of their new thiazide prescriptions (n=138 patients). In the “favor hydrochlorothiazide” group, there was 99% adherence to that strategy. In the “favor chlorthalidone” group, chlorthalidone comprised 77% of new thiazide starts, up from 1% in the pre-study period. When the assigned strategy was followed, dosing in the recommended range was 48% for hydrochlorothiazide (25–50 mg/day) and 100% for chlorthalidone (12.5–25.0 mg/day). Providers were motivated to participate by a desire to contribute to a comparative effectiveness study. A study promotional mug, provider information letter, and interactions with the site investigator were identified as most helpful in reminding providers of their study drug strategy.

          Conclusion

          Providers prescribed according to an assigned drug-choice strategy most of the time for the purpose of a comparative effectiveness study. This simple design could facilitate research participation and behavior change in non-research clinicians. Waiver of patient consent can broaden the representation of patients, providers, and settings.

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          Most cited references 29

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          A meta-analysis of the association between adherence to drug therapy and mortality.

          To evaluate the relation between adherence to drug therapy, including placebo, and mortality. Meta-analysis of observational studies. Electronic databases, contact with investigators, and textbooks and reviews on adherence. Review methods Predefined criteria were used to select studies reporting mortality among participants with good and poor adherence to drug therapy. Data were extracted for disease, drug therapy groups, methods for measurement of adherence rate, definition for good adherence, and mortality. Data were available from 21 studies (46,847 participants), including eight studies with placebo arms (19,633 participants). Compared with poor adherence, good adherence was associated with lower mortality (odds ratio 0.56, 95% confidence interval 0.50 to 0.63). Good adherence to placebo was associated with lower mortality (0.56, 0.43 to 0.74), as was good adherence to beneficial drug therapy (0.55, 0.49 to 0.62). Good adherence to harmful drug therapy was associated with increased mortality (2.90, 1.04 to 8.11). Good adherence to drug therapy is associated with positive health outcomes. Moreover, the observed association between good adherence to placebo and mortality supports the existence of the "healthy adherer" effect, whereby adherence to drug therapy may be a surrogate marker for overall healthy behaviour.
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            Targeted versus universal decolonization to prevent ICU infection.

            Both targeted decolonization and universal decolonization of patients in intensive care units (ICUs) are candidate strategies to prevent health care-associated infections, particularly those caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). We conducted a pragmatic, cluster-randomized trial. Hospitals were randomly assigned to one of three strategies, with all adult ICUs in a given hospital assigned to the same strategy. Group 1 implemented MRSA screening and isolation; group 2, targeted decolonization (i.e., screening, isolation, and decolonization of MRSA carriers); and group 3, universal decolonization (i.e., no screening, and decolonization of all patients). Proportional-hazards models were used to assess differences in infection reductions across the study groups, with clustering according to hospital. A total of 43 hospitals (including 74 ICUs and 74,256 patients during the intervention period) underwent randomization. In the intervention period versus the baseline period, modeled hazard ratios for MRSA clinical isolates were 0.92 for screening and isolation (crude rate, 3.2 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days), 0.75 for targeted decolonization (3.2 vs. 4.3 isolates per 1000 days), and 0.63 for universal decolonization (2.1 vs. 3.4 isolates per 1000 days) (P=0.01 for test of all groups being equal). In the intervention versus baseline periods, hazard ratios for bloodstream infection with any pathogen in the three groups were 0.99 (crude rate, 4.1 vs. 4.2 infections per 1000 days), 0.78 (3.7 vs. 4.8 infections per 1000 days), and 0.56 (3.6 vs. 6.1 infections per 1000 days), respectively (P<0.001 for test of all groups being equal). Universal decolonization resulted in a significantly greater reduction in the rate of all bloodstream infections than either targeted decolonization or screening and isolation. One bloodstream infection was prevented per 54 patients who underwent decolonization. The reductions in rates of MRSA bloodstream infection were similar to those of all bloodstream infections, but the difference was not significant. Adverse events, which occurred in 7 patients, were mild and related to chlorhexidine. In routine ICU practice, universal decolonization was more effective than targeted decolonization or screening and isolation in reducing rates of MRSA clinical isolates and bloodstream infection from any pathogen. (Funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; REDUCE MRSA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00980980).
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              The randomized registry trial--the next disruptive technology in clinical research?

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-6336
                1178-203X
                2014
                28 October 2014
                : 10
                : 905-912
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Pharmacy Benefits Management Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Hines, IL, USA
                [2 ]Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center, Wilkes-Barre, PA, USA
                [3 ]Charles George VA Medical Center, Asheville, NC, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Madeline McCarren, Department of Veterans Affairs, Pharmacy Benefits Management Services (10P4P), 1st Ave – 1 blk N of Cermak Rd (Bldg 37, Rm 139), Hines, IL 60141 USA, Tel +1 708 786 7987, Fax +1 708 786 7891, Email madeline.mccarren@ 123456va.gov
                Article
                tcrm-10-905
                10.2147/TCRM.S69878
                4218905
                © 2014 McCarren et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Original Research

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