A community for people who want to remain as healthy as possible as we age.

When To Get Pragmatic

(Josephine P. Briggs, M.D., National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) Many complementary approaches are readily available in the marketplace. As a consequence, NCCAM sits at the crossroads between research and real-world consumer use. The general public wants to know what works and what doesn’t, and increasingly health care providers also want reliable information…
This unique situation has made us aware of the importance of better methods to do real-world, or pragmatic, research…
The focus of this activity is pragmatic trials. What makes a pragmatic trial, well … pragmatic? Pragmatic trials, sometimes called effectiveness trials, test an intervention, or compare several interventions, delivered under conditions as close to the “real world” as possible…
The interventions tested in a pragmatic trial should not require a complex structure for implementation. The study design should incorporate rigorous controls, prospectively identified and preferably randomized. The monitoring and outcome assessment should be as simple as possible and potentially use electronic health records. And finally, the research question to be answered should be important—to patients, payers, and health care delivery systems.
Community: The more information we record about our lifestyles, medical and alternative treatments, and outcomes in digital medical records, the more opportunity we'll have to find interventions that work. It will be a new paradigm for health research, but one that will reap huge dividends.
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Please do not give advice. We can best help each other by telling what works for us, not what we think someone else should do.