Evaluating the design and reporting of pragmatic trials in osteoarthritis research
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Objectives: Among the challenges in health research is translating interventions from controlled experimental settings to clinical and community settings where chronic disease is managed daily. Pragmatic trials offer a method for testing interventions in real-world settings but are seldom used in OA research. The aim of this study was to evaluate the literature on pragmatic trials in OA research up to August 2016 in order to identify strengths and weaknesses in the design and reporting of these trials. Methods: We used established guidelines to assess the degree to which 61 OA studies complied with pragmatic trial design and reporting. We assessed design according to the pragmatic-explanatory continuum indicator summary and reporting according to the pragmatic trials extension of the CONsolidated Standards of Reporting Trials guidelines. Results: None of the pragmatic trials met all 11 criteria evaluated and most of the trials met between 5 and 8 of the criteria. Criteria most often unmet pertained to practitioner expertise (by requiring specialists) and criteria most often met pertained to primary outcome analysis (by using intention-to-treat analysis). Conclusion: Our results suggest a lack of highly pragmatic trials in OA research. We identify this as a point of opportunity to improve research translation, since optimizing the design and reporting of pragmatic trials can facilitate implementation of evidence-based interventions for OA care.
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