School of Mathematical Sciences

The dog-leg design: giving clinical trials more power to their elbow menu

The dog-leg design: giving clinical trials more power to their elbow

R. L. Hooper, Blizard Institute
Thu, 28/05/2015 - 17:30
Seminar series: 

In 1948 the MRC streptomycin trial established the principles of the modern clinical trial, and for longer still the idea of a control or comparison group recruited concurrently to the intervention group has been recognised as essential to obtaining sound evidence for clinical effectiveness. But must a clinical trial proceed by running an intervention and comparator in parallel? In this seminar I will focus on trials where participants are randomised in clusters. This is common when evaluating health service interventions that are delivered within an organisational unit such as a school or general practice. I will look in particular at trials where the comparator is routine care: these trials effectively ask how individuals' outcomes would compare before and after introducing the new treatment in a cluster. I will discuss some surprisingly efficient alternatives to parallel group trial designs in this case, made possible by delaying introduction of the intervention in some clusters after randomisation, with these clusters continuing in the meantime to receive routine care.