Investigator‐initiated trials run by CTNs provide net economic benefits to health systems

ACTA, in collaboration with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC), has published an article in the Medical Journal of Australia on economic evaluation of Investigator‐initiated trials (IITs) run by clinical trial networks (CTNs). (Read the full paper here)

IITs conducted by Australian and New Zealand CTNs have had a major impact on the improvement of health care quality and outcomes around the world. Further, IITs run by CTNs have influenced clinical guidelines, identified ways to improve safety and quality and provided opportunities for more effective and efficient use of resources.

The article illustrates the key findings and recommendations from an evaluation conducted with a selected group of three well-established CTNs on the overall health and economic impact of IITs weighing benefits against clinical trial and network costs. Further, it highlights the funding shortfalls and the reliance on in-kind support to sustain the viability of the CTNs and their ability to conduct IITs.

High quality health systems are reliant on a strong clinical trials sector. So, where to from here?

  • The findings from this evaluation should be combined with additional evidence to develop a more detailed insight into the value proposition of clinical trials run by the CTNs in order to inform a comprehensive strategy to guide the further development and funding of networks running investigator-initiated clinical trials activity in Australia.
  • In order to optimise the potential of networks and ensure their sustainability, work should be undertaken to determine best practice models of network operation in Australia.
  • Continued efforts should be made to integrate clinical trials with frontline health care delivery and translational research (measuring the extent that clinical trials changes or influences clinical practice).
  • Networks should explore opportunities for greater collaboration with associated clinical quality registries, or linkages to routinely collected outcome datasets, to refine important clinical questions after gathering insights into patterns of real-world practice. Optimising the association between networks and existing data resources is an important area for future development by network leaders, registry operators and policy makers.