NUI Galway Researchers Invite the Public to Lead on Virtual Clinical Trial

Dr Sandra Galvin, Program manager at HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) describes how The People’s Trial enables the public to take over the reins of a fun low risk randomised trial.

The Health Research Board – Trials Methodology Research Network (HRB-TMRN) based in the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway has launched a new and innovative initiative, The People’s Trial, which challenges the public to get involved in creating, designing and running their very own fun clinical trial.

The initiative is one of the first of its kind in Ireland to establish an online virtual clinical trial platform and to fully engage with the general public at every step of the trial process, from question selection to recruitment, to data analysis and beyond. For the first time, a fun clinical trial will be fully dependent on the public for its success, not just as study participants, but as trialists creating the trial at each step, deciding the trial question, selecting the outcomes and how they will be measured, and sharing the findings.

The overall aim of this study is to help create a greater understanding of the clinical trial process so that the public can be better informed as to why we need clinical trials and also how they can be used to answer a question. While randomised trials are expensive, time-consuming studies to plan and carry out, they are considered the gold standard of how to evaluate health care interventions.

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