Use of routinely collected data in a UK cohort of publicly funded randomised clinical trials
Routinely collected data about health in medical records, registries and hospital activity statistics is now routinely collected in an electronic form. The extent to which such sources of data are now being routinely accessed to deliver efficient clinical trials, is unclear. The aim of this study was to ascertain current practice amongst a United Kingdom (UK) cohort of recently funded and ongoing randomised controlled trials (RCTs) in relation to sources and use of routinely collected outcome
... collected outcome data. Recently funded and ongoing RCTs were identified for inclusion by searching the National Institute for Health Research journals library. Trials that have a protocol available were assessed for inclusion and those that use or plan to use routinely collected health data (RCHD) for at least one outcome were included. RCHD sources and outcome information were extracted. Of 216 RCTs, 102 (47%) planned to use RCHD. A RCHD source was the sole source of outcome data for at least one outcome in 46 (45%) of those 102 trials. The most frequent sources are Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) and Office for National Statistics (ONS), with the most common outcome data to be extracted being on mortality, hospital admission, and health service resource use. Our study has found that around half of publicly funded trials in a UK cohort (NIHR HTA funded trials that had a protocol available) plan to collect outcome data from routinely collected data sources. This is much higher than the figure of 8% found in a cohort of 189 RCTs published since 2000, the majority of which were carried out in North America (McCord et al., 2019).