Patient preferences when searching for clinical trials and adherence of study records to ClinicalTrials.gov guidance in key registry data fields
ClinicalTrials.gov was started with the intention to create a consumer-friendly database for patients and others in search of information on clinical trials. However, there is no research on whether the content of ClinicalTrials.gov aligns with patient preferences. The TransCelerate Clinical Research Access & Information Exchange Initiative convened patient advisory boards and conducted a global online survey (N = 1070) to determine patient preferences when searching for clinical trials for
... ical trials for participation. Patient feedback and ClinicalTrials.gov guidance documents were used to construct instruments to assess patient focus and guidance adherence of the Brief Title (a short lay title of the clinical trial) and Brief Summary (a high-level summary of study features) data fields in a representative sample (N = 346) of ClinicalTrials.gov records of interventional trials. When searching for clinical trials, survey participants rated condition (66.4%), trial location (57.0%), trial dates (52.9%), age and gender (48.6%), and health measurements (i.e., what the study measures) (45.5%) as the most important items. When presented with a list of trials from an initial search, participants saw condition, brief summary, study drug name, and brief title as the most helpful items. In a Brief Title, they wanted condition, health measurements, participant age, and study drug name. For Brief Summaries, participants preferred additional information on treatment duration, condition, study goal, health measurements, and frequency of visits. The assessment of patient focus in a representative sample of current ClinicalTrials.gov records showed that patient focus was underdeveloped as study records achieved only 52% (brief titles) and 50% (brief summaries) of the best possible score. The analysis of adherence to ClinicalTrials.gov guidance showed better scores (brief titles 69%, brief summaries 66%). We identified key information elements for registry users when evaluating clinical trials for participation. We found that aspects of patient focus are not common in current ClinicalTrials.gov entries. To support more user-friendly study records, we developed a tool to assess the quality of the plain language fields in study records prior to submission.