Participation of ICUs in Critical Care Pandemic Research: A Province Wide, Cross-Sectional Survey*

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Abstract

Objective:

Little information exists to identify barriers to participation in pandemic research involving critically ill patients. We sought to characterize clinical research activity during the recent influenza A pandemic and to understand the experiences, beliefs, and practices of key stakeholders involved in pandemic research implementation.

Design:

Cross-sectional, provincial postal questionnaire.

Setting:

Level III ICUs.

Participants:

ICU administrators and research coordinators.

Measurements:

We used rigorous survey methodology to identify potential respondents and to develop, test, and administer two-related questionnaires.

Main Results:

We analyzed responses from 39 research coordinators and 139 administrators (response rates: 70.9% and 73.2%, respectively). Compared with non-influenza A studies, influenza A studies were less likely to be randomized trials and most often investigator-initiated and peer-review funded. Whereas both respondent groups felt that pandemic research would be helpful in providing care during future pandemics, research coordinators placed significantly greater importance on their ICU’s participation in pandemic research. Both respondent groups expressed a need for rapid approval processes, designated funding for research personnel, adequate funding for start-up and patient screening, preapproved template protocols and consent forms, and clearer guidance regarding co-enrollment. Research coordinators acknowledged a need for alternative consent models to increase their capacity to participate in future pandemic research. More administrators expressed willingness to participate in the next pandemic if the required research resources were made available to them.

Conclusions:

Whereas research personnel and administrators support participation in pandemic ICU research, several modifiable barriers to participation exist. Pandemic research preparedness planning with regulatory bodies and dedicated funding to support research infrastructure, especially in community settings, are required to optimize future pandemic research participation.

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