Rapid, Accurate Publication of Clinical Trial Results: Key Points

Zannad F, Crea F, Keaney J, et al.
Rapid, Accurate Publication and Dissemination of Clinical Trial Results: Benefits and Challenges. Eur Heart J 2023;May 11:[Epub ahead of print].

The following are key points to remember from a state-of-the-art review about rapid, accurate publication and dissemination of clinical trial results:

  1. This review article from the 18th Global Cardiovascular Clinical Trialists meeting reviews the process of publishing clinical trial results to maximize the information derived from trials, and discusses strategies to ensure accurate and accessible dissemination to the widest audience possible, especially to treating-clinicians and their patients.
  2. Timely release and dissemination of accurate results from major clinical trials is key. Avenues such as press releases and social media posts come with concerns about ‘spin’ and misinformation. Presentations at medical conferences are more comprehensive but still lack a thorough peer-review process. Use of preprint servers is becoming increasingly common and comes with some advantages like increasing visibility of negative studies results; however, runs the risk of spreading non–peer-reviewed data and two different versions of the data.
  3. Improving publication rates of clinical trial results is necessary. For trials completed after 2007, the 1-year publication rate was only 20%. Reducing hurdles such as rigid formatting requirement, identifying appropriate reviewers, and limiting review cycles can help incentivize authors to submit more consistently.
  4. Publication of secondary analyses is an important step to maximize the output from often long and costly clinical trials and improve the ability to identify patients who are likely to benefit most from specific treatments.
  5. Limitations on access to clinical trial databases curb potential knowledge that can be gained with clinical trial results. Wide sharing of clinical trial data involves challenges but can also afford substantial benefits like allowing development of a new hypothesis, confirmation of results, and maximizing knowledge from each clinical trial.
  6. Trial results should be disseminated beyond scientific journal publications using mainstream outlets, social media, and plain language summary publications.
  7. Plain language summaries help to engage and motivate both patients and health care professionals. Effective communication should provide easy and rapid access, use visuals for clarity, facilitate doctor-patient communication, and highlight key findings.
  8. Overcoming the three I’s (ignorance, incredulity, and inaction) to increase awareness, trust, and action will help improve management of cardiovascular disease through efficient dissemination of clinical trial results.

Clinical Topics: Cardiovascular Care Team, Prevention

Keywords: Clinical Trials as Topic, Communication, Information Dissemination, Peer Review, Physician-Patient Relations, Preprint, Publishing, Quality Improvement, Risk, Secondary Prevention, Social Media, Trust

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