Making randomised trials more efficient: report of the first meeting to discuss the Trial Forge platform.
Treweek S., Altman DG., Bower P., Campbell M., Chalmers I., Cotton S., Craig P., Crosby D., Davidson P., Devane D., Duley L., Dunn J., Elbourne D., Farrell B., Gamble C., Gillies K., Hood K., Lang T., Littleford R., Loudon K., McDonald A., McPherson G., Nelson A., Norrie J., Ramsay C., Sandercock P., Shanahan DR., Summerskill W., Sydes M., Williamson P., Clarke M.
Randomised trials are at the heart of evidence-based healthcare, but the methods and infrastructure for conducting these sometimes complex studies are largely evidence free. Trial Forge ( www.trialforge.org ) is an initiative that aims to increase the evidence base for trial decision making and, in doing so, to improve trial efficiency.This paper summarises a one-day workshop held in Edinburgh on 10 July 2014 to discuss Trial Forge and how to advance this initiative. We first outline the problem of inefficiency in randomised trials and go on to describe Trial Forge. We present participants' views on the processes in the life of a randomised trial that should be covered by Trial Forge.General support existed at the workshop for the Trial Forge approach to increase the evidence base for making randomised trial decisions and for improving trial efficiency. Agreed upon key processes included choosing the right research question; logistical planning for delivery, training of staff, recruitment, and retention; data management and dissemination; and close down. The process of linking to existing initiatives where possible was considered crucial. Trial Forge will not be a guideline or a checklist but a 'go to' website for research on randomised trials methods, with a linked programme of applied methodology research, coupled to an effective evidence-dissemination process. Moreover, it will support an informal network of interested trialists who meet virtually (online) and occasionally in person to build capacity and knowledge in the design and conduct of efficient randomised trials.Some of the resources invested in randomised trials are wasted because of limited evidence upon which to base many aspects of design, conduct, analysis, and reporting of clinical trials. Trial Forge will help to address this lack of evidence.