Several of our staff attended the Society for Clinical Trials Meeting in New Orleans, USA, from the 19th to the 22nd May. The conference kicked off with the pre-conference workshop on the Sunday. Shaun Treweek led a workshop about SWATs that had contributions from Katie Gillies and other Trial Forge collaborators (Adowa Parker from York, Andrew Cook from Southampton, and Spencer Hey from Harvard). There were lots of great discussions and we came away with some new ideas of how to move the SWAT initiative further forward.
Monday saw the formal kick off to the meeting and a busy day for HSRU’ers. Mark Forrest our Senior IT development Manager was first up with his poster on solutions to address the communications management hurdle. Next up saw Marion Campbell and Katie Gillies (with contributions from Justin Presseau, Jamie Brehaut and Spencer Hey) introduce the idea of using behavioural science to help us design better trials. Katie specifically focused on preliminary findings from the STEER study. This was a great session with lots of questions for the panel to ponder.
Katie also spoke on Monday afternoon where she presented findings from one of our MPH student projects conducted by Pamela Ajayi and co-supervised with Eilidh Duncan. The project explored discussion of retention in trial consultations from the CGALL trial . With the thrust of the talk being that retention is rarely discussed and when it is it isn’t done well.
Tuesday mid-morning sessions were jam packed with HSRU staff including Katie Gillies contributing to Spencer Hey’s session on safeguarding public trust in trials implementing a waiver of consent.
Katie highlighted work from a systematic review in measures of RCT informed consent and encouraged the audience to contribute to an ongoing core outcome set to identify outcomes of importance when evaluating the RCT informed consent process.
In parallel, Marion Campbell talked with collaborators on the development of reporting guidelines for RCTs using cohorts and routinely collected health data . Our Senior Trial Manager, Alison McDonald led (with contributions from Suzanne Breeman, Kath Starr, and Mark Forrest) an in conference tutorial on trial close and archiving.
Finally Tuesday afternoon saw Marion Campbell, Katie Gillies, Jan Jansen, ex HSRU’er Jonathan Cook and long time collaborator and friend of the Unit David Beard deliver an invited session on the role of the expertise-based design for surgical trials. Marion introduced the design, with Jonathan talking through some key considerations for analysis, Katie talked through some exploratory work with stakeholders on key concerns and opportunities, and then David presented TOPKAT as an example of an expertise based design in practice.
The last day saw both Shaun Treweek and Marion Campbell talk back to back in a contributed session. Shaun talked us through the potential benefits of SWATs and what the recommendations are for when to stop. Marion’s talk considered trials in trauma and how the nature of trials of this type present challenges for informed consent and randomisation and how these were overcome in the REBOA trial.
The last session to close out the conference on Wednesday included an invited session from our trial management team on challenges of setting up international clinical trials, led by Suzanne, Kath and Alison with contributions from Jan Jansen. Alison gave an overview of trial set up and some of the challenges encountered while Kath focused on lessons learned for start up in sister/follow on trials while Suzanne spoke about training modes and methods to an engaged audience. Jan brought the session (and the conference!) to a close discussing the differences in trial set up in the UK vs. the US.
And to top it all off, HSRU contributed and led the conversations on social media relating to #SCT2019. With five of the top10 mentions for the conference coming from HSRU activity – with a total reach of 1.72million impressions. So we returned to HSRU slightly jet-lagged but energised with ideas for trials related research and projects for the future and very much looking forward to #ICTMC2019