Data collection in Pragmatic Trials

Meinecke, Anna-Katharina; Welsing, Paco; Kafatos, George; Burke, Des; Trelle, Sven; Kubin, Maria; Nachbaur, Gaelle; Egger, Matthias; Zuidgeest, Mira (2017). Data collection in Pragmatic Trials. Journal of clinical epidemiology, 91, pp. 13-22. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2017.07.003

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Pragmatic trials can improve our understanding of how treatments will perform in routine practice. In a series of eight papers, the GetReal Consortium has evaluated the challenges in designing and conducting pragmatic trials and their specific methodological, operational, regulatory and ethical implications. The present final paper of the series discusses the operational and methodological challenges of data collection in pragmatic trials. A more pragmatic data collection needs to balance the delivery of highly accurate and complete data with minimizing the level of interference that data entry and verification induce with clinical practice. Further it should allow for the involvement of a representative sample of practices, physicians and patients who prescribe/receive treatment in routine care. This paper discusses challenges that are related to the different methods of data collection and presents potential solutions where possible. No one-size-fits-all recommendation can be given for the collection of data in pragmatic trials, although in general the application of existing routinely used data collection systems and processes seem to best suit the pragmatic approach. However, data access and privacy, the time points of data collection, the level of detail in the data and the lack of a clear understanding of the data collection process were identified as main challenges for the usage of routinely collected data in pragmatic trials. A first step should be to determine to what extend existing healthcare databases provide the necessary study data and can accommodate data collection and management. When more elaborate or detailed data collection or more structured follow-up is required, data collection in a pragmatic trial will have to be tailor-made, often using a hybrid approach utilizing a dedicated electronic case report form (eCRF). In this case the eCRF should be kept as simple as possible to reduce the burden for practitioners and minimize influence on routine clinical practice.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > CTU Bern

UniBE Contributor:

Trelle, Sven and Egger, Matthias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Tanya Karrer

Date Deposited:

05 Sep 2017 14:28

Last Modified:

29 Oct 2019 12:45

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Pragmatic trial claims databases eCRF electronic health records registries routinely collected data




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