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Article Outlines Lessons Learned from First Large Pragmatic Trial Using Sentinel

A new article in Clinical Trials, co-authored by CTTI, outlines lessons learned from the planning phase of the implementation of a randomized controlled trial to improve treatment with oral anticoagulants in patients with Atrial Fibrillation (IMPACT-AFib) trial, the first large pragmatic clinical trial that used the Sentinel infrastructure. This work is part of CTTI’s larger effort to advance trials that use real-world data sources.

The FDA’s Sentinel System uses electronic health records (EHR) and insurance claims from 18 health plans and delivery systems covering about 45 million individuals enrolled in commercial health plans, in addition to 22 million Medicare recipients.

The IMPACT-AFib trial, launched in 2017 by collaborators including CTTI, identified patients with atrial fibrillation who were at high risk of stroke, and randomized them to either an early or delayed intervention. The Sentinel System helped the trial team assess the size of the potential trial population, examine baseline measurements, and determine there were significant gaps in care, which showed there was a need for the trial.

In selecting participants for the trial and conducting other planning analyses, the trial team used Sentinel’s common data model and reusable analytic programs, which accelerated the planning and budgeting for the trial while keeping member-level data safe.

The IMPACT-AFib team also considered limitations introduced by Sentinel, including the potential for misclassification due to the use of administrative claims data. Other lessons learned for developing health plan-based clinical trials include using a single IRB, involving patient representatives in protocol design, and timing the start of the trial and mailing of materials around open enrollment and other health plan initiatives. 

Learn more about CTTI’s other work to increase the appropriate use of real-world data sources and real-world evidence in clinical trials for regulatory submission.