Professor Elizabeth Burnside, MD, FACR, continues to pursue improvements in breast cancer screening, this time publishing an editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Dr. Burnside focused on ways to reform how screening policy is developed in clinical trials, namely with the use of “pragmatic” randomized trials.
Typical clinical trials are categorized as “explanatory,” answering clinical questions under strict conditions and with a rigorously selected patient population. This style of trial is good for understanding how and why an intervention works, but can be difficult to generalize to real-world care. Instead, Dr. Burnside advocates for the “pragmatic” approach, which is more concerned with whether or not a treatment works in real-life conditions.
“This style of study has become more practical with the development of data collection mechanisms embedded in the clinical environment,” said Dr. Burnside. “They combine the strengths of randomization with real-world practice to ensure external validity or generalizability.”