Introduction It is important to consider the degree to which studies are explanatory versus pragmatic to understand the implications of their findings for patients, healthcare professionals, and policymakers. Pragmatic trials test the effectiveness of interventions in real-world conditions; explanatory trials test for efficacy under ideal conditions. The Consortium of Hospitals Advancing Research on Tobacco (CHART) is a network of seven NIH-funded trials designed to identify effective programs that can be widely implemented in routine clinical practice. Methods A cross-sectional analysis of CHART trial study designs was conducted to place each study on the pragmatic-explanatory continuum. After reliability training, six raters independently scored each CHART study according to ten PRagmatic Explanatory Continuum Indicator Summary (PRECIS) dimensions, which covered participant eligibility criteria, intervention flexibility, practitioner expertise, follow-up procedures, participant compliance, practitioner adherence, and outcome analyses. Means and SDs were calculated for each dimension of each study, with lower scores representing more pragmatic elements. Results were plotted on “spoke and wheel” diagrams. The rating process and analyses were performed in October 2014 to September 2015. Results All seven CHART trials tended toward the pragmatic end of the spectrum, although there was a range from 0.76 (SD=0.23) to 1.85 (SD=0.58). Most studies included some explanatory design elements. Conclusions CHART findings should be relatively applicable to clinical practice. Funders and reviewers could integrate PRECIS criteria into their guidelines to better facilitate pragmatic research. CHART study protocols, coupled with scores reported here, may help readers improve the design of their own pragmatic trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health