The Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN ), based in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway has launched The People’s Trial, which challenges the public to get involved in creating, designing, and running their very own fun clinical trial.
The initiative is one of the first of its kind in Ireland to establish an online virtual clinical trial platform and to fully engage with the public at every step of the trial process, from question selection, to recruitment, to data analysis, and beyond. For the first time, a fun clinical trial will be fully dependent on the public for its success, not just as study participants, but as trialists creating the trial at each step, deciding the trial question, selecting the outcomes and how they will be measured, and sharing the findings.
The overall aim of this study is to help create a greater understanding of the clinical trial process, so that the public can be better informed as to why we need clinical trials and also how they can be used to answer a question.
While randomised trials are expensive, time-consuming studies to plan and carry out, they are considered the gold standard of how to evaluate healthcare interventions. An intervention is anything that aims to make a change to someone’s health for the better. For example, providing a counselling service, prescribing a drug, or giving people information and training, are all described as interventions. The decision about which group a person joins in a randomised trial is at random, which means that a person is put into one of the intervention groups by chance.
Professor Declan Devane, scientific director of HRB-TMRN at NUI Galway, said: “In a world where the public are bombarded through multiple mediums with differing health choices and claims, we feel it is important that members of the public have the skills to consider the validity of these claims. This is how randomised trials become really important.”
The study is funded by the Health Research Board under the Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme Award.