OPINION: Efficient design of clinical trials and epidemiological research: is it possible?

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| Randomized clinical trials and large-scale, cohort studies continue to have a critical role in generating evidence in cardiovascular medicine; however, the increasing concern is that ballooning costs threaten the clinical trial enterprise. In this Perspectives article, we discuss the changing landscape of clinical research, and clinical trials in particular, focusing on reasons for the increasing costs and inefficiencies. These reasons include excessively complex design, overly restrictive inclusion and exclusion criteria, burdensome regulations, excessive source-data verification, and concerns about the effect of clinical research conduct on workflow. Thought leaders have called on the clinical research community to consider alternative, transformative business models, including those models that focus on simplicity and leveraging of digital resources. We present some examples of innovative approaches by which some investigators have successfully conducted large-scale, clinical trials at relatively low cost. These examples include randomized registry trials, cluster-randomized trials, adaptive trials, and trials that are fully embedded within digital clinical care or administrative platforms.

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