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Creating a best practice template for participant communication plans in global health clinical studies

Shelly, Colleen E., Logan, Caroline, Skorochod, Beth, Wiyeh, Alison, Ndwandwe, Duduzile, Choko, Augustine, Valea, Innocent and Titanji, Boghuma K. (2023) 'Creating a best practice template for participant communication plans in global health clinical studies'. Trials, Vol 24, Issue 1, e158.

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Clinical trial participants have a right to be informed throughout the entire process of human subject research. As part of this pillar of research ethics, participants and other stakeholders should be made aware of research findings after a trial has been completed. Though participants have both a right, and a desire to be informed of research outcomes, studies show that they rarely receive communication about study findings. Our aim was (1) to understand what, if any, role communication plans play in current global health clinical research protocols and (2) to use our findings to develop a communication plan template tailored to clinical research carried out in low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC) while minimizing colonial assumptions. While the template was drafted in the LMIC context, the principles are universally applicable and should be considered best practices for all global health clinical trials.
We carried out a mixed-method study over a period of 6 months to understand the role of communication with study participants and other stakeholders in clinical trials. The semiquantitative analysis included mining publicly available clinical trial protocols for communication-related language. Qualitative interviews (n = 7) were used to gather knowledge and insight from clinical trial experts to inform the development of a communication plan template.
None of the 48 mined clinical trial protocols included a communication plan. Of the 48, 21% (n = 21) protocols included communication-related language, and 10% (n = 5) described plans to share trial results with participants.
The use of communication plans in global health clinical trials is lacking. To our knowledge, this is the first in-depth analysis of communication plans in clinical trials to date. We recommend that researchers utilize the developed communication plan template throughout the entire research process to ensure a human-centered approach to participant communication. This communication plan should apply to all phases of a research trial, with a particular emphasis on plans to share results in an accessible and engaging manner once the trial has been completed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: NOT_LSTM
Subjects: WA Public Health > WA 20.5 Research (General)
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 530 International health administration
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Lynn Roberts-Maloney
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2023 10:57
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2023 10:57


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