COVID-19 is affecting the way we all do randomised trials and the Trial Forge team has been providing a range of materials that are relevant to both COVID-19 trials and non-COVID trials affected by COVID-19 (https://www.trialforge.org/covid-19-resources/).
Currently these materials fall into three main categories:
• Evidence pack: up-to-date summaries of evidence for trial process interventions.
• Brief guidance: practical advice on how to handle changes due to COVID-19
• Resource collections: bundles of materials that people might find useful as templates and starting points in their own trials.
There are also a few other things like videos and leaflets. The focus has been retention so far, especially switching from face-to-face follow-up to telephone and other remote follow-up. Some newly updated evidence on simple, effective retention interventions (e.g. including pens with questionnaires) has been collated into Evidence packs. Lots of people have contributed, especially from the Health Services Research Unit, York Clinical Trials Unit and the Centre for Trials Research in Cardiff, all of which are Trial Forge Centres.
‘The key innovation in the Evidence packs is to give recommendations for practice– in other words, should I use it? – not just the evidence itself’ said Prof Shaun Treweek, who leads Trial Forge. ‘And having lots of people prepare material has been great too.’
The COVID-19 resources are a specialised part of the general Trial Forge resources (see https://www.trialforge.org/trial-forge-resources/), which has a wider range of materials intended to be practical and make use of the best evidence we have. More resources are planned, both general and COVID-related.
‘It’s been great to see these come together and I like that some of the materials capture experience and practical advice, not just numbers and trial evidence. I hope this will become a growing resource for all trialists well beyond the current COVID outbreak’ said Shaun.