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August NUI Galway Researchers Invite the Public to Lead on Virtual Clinical Trial
NUI Galway Researchers Invite the Public to Lead on Virtual Clinical Trial
The Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) based in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway has launched a new and innovative initiative, 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 general 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 health care 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 the Health Research Board - Trials Methodology Research Network 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.”
Dr Sandra Galvin, HRB-TMRN Programme Manager at NUI Galway, said: “The People’s Trial offers the general public the rare opportunity to take over the controls of a fun, low risk, clinical trial and ask any question they like. Does taking a cold shower every day help improve physical and mental wellbeing? Does eating cheese before bedtime cause nightmares? Does taking a walk at lunchtime help improve work productivity in the afternoon? These are just some of the types of questions that this type of trial may seek to answer, but ultimately the general public will decide.”
Speaking about the initiative, Dr Darrin Morrissey, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board, said: “Building public understanding of clinical trials is essential to increase participation. This project is a brilliant way to engage people in the trial process in a way that will build trust and understanding of the process of developing innovative clinical interventions. It is great to see the HRB-TMRN push new boundaries in the approach to clinical trials and embrace public and patient involvement in a proactive way.”
The study is funded by the Health Research Board under the Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme Award.
For further information, visit: https://thepeoplestrial.ie/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @thepeoplestrial and People’s Trial on Facebook and peoples_trial on Instagram.