From the Journals

mSToPS breaks ground as a ‘pragmatic’ randomized trial


 

FROM JAMA

The mSToPS study “represents an innovative example of the potential (and challenges) inherent in a pragmatic information technology trial. The trial “represents a brave new world for clinical research: an innovative, highly commendable, contemporary pragmatic health care information technology study that tested an important question and yielded significant clinical findings,” wrote two leaders in trial design in an editorial about the study.

In addition, the mHealth Screening to Prevent Strokes (mSToPS) trial tested the utility of a wearable ECG patch to detect new-onset episodes of atrial fibrillation. Thus the study also served as one of the first examples of a trial designed to examine whether a wearable, digital device can transform health care by improving clinical outcomes, an advance that crosses the current “chasm between the technology and clinical worlds,” wrote Eric D. Peterson, MD, and Robert A. Harrington, MD. Their editorial framed mSToPS as a breakthrough in a new type of information technology–based, pragmatic clinical trial (JAMA. 2018 July 10;320[2]:137-8).

Future trials with similar designs and novel health information technology methods could tap into the enormous information contained in electronic health records, wrote Dr. Peterson, a cardiologist, professor of medicine, and executive director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute at Duke University in Durham, N.C., and Dr. Harrington, a cardiologist, professor, and chairman of medicine at Stanford (Calif.) University.

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Dr. Steven R. Steinhubl, lead investigator for the mSToPS trial, agreed with this assessment. Speaking in a video interview in March 2018 during the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology, where Dr. Steinhubl first reported the mSToPS results, he characterized the trial as “completely reimagining how clinical trials are done,” by making them less expensive and more convenient for participants. In this way, mSToPS is a break from the traditional randomized clinical trial format, which creates an “artificial treatment environment and artificial patient behaviors,” said Dr. Steinhubl, a cardiologist and director of digital medicine at the Scripps Translational Science Institute in La Jolla, Calif.

Dr. Peterson has received personal fees from Livogo and has received research funding from Akili, RefleXion Medical, and Verily Life Sciences. Dr. Harrington has been a consultant to Amgen, Element Science, Gilead Sciences, MyoKardia, and WebMD; has served on the board of directors of Signal Path and Scanadu; has received personal fees from Bayer; and has received research funding from Apple, AstraZeneca, Bristol-Myers Squibb, CSL, Janssen, Novartis, Portola, Sanofi, and the Medicines Company. Dr. Steinhubl has received research funding from Janssen, DynoSense, EasyG, SpryHealth, and Striiv.

SOURCE: Peterson ED et al. JAMA. 2018 July 10;320[2]:138-9.

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