Assessment of the Perceived Acceptability of an Early Enrollment Strategy Using Advance Consent in Health Care-Associated Pneumonia.
Importance: Better treatment options are needed in life-threatening infections, including health care-associated pneumonia. Enrolling patients in antibacterial clinical trials before diagnosis may circumvent existing time-to-enrollment constraints. However, the acceptability of an early enrollment strategy using advance consent is unknown. Objective: To assess the perceived acceptability of an early enrollment strategy for enrolling patients in an antibacterial clinical trial before a pneumonia diagnosis. Design, Setting, and Participants: This qualitative, descriptive study used semistructured telephone interviews. Framed within a planned noninferiority pneumonia antibiotic trial, an early enrollment strategy was described and perceptions were assessed. Using this strategy, patients give consent to enroll before developing pneumonia, to be monitored by study staff, and to be randomly assigned a study antibiotic if pneumonia develops. All interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using applied thematic analysis. Fifty-two key stakeholders from across the United States, including 18 patients at risk of pneumonia, 12 caregivers, 10 representatives of institutional review boards, 7 investigators, and 5 study coordinators, were interviewed from June 20 to August 19, 2016. Main Outcomes and Measures: Perceived acceptability of the early enrollment strategy. Results: Among the 52 stakeholders interviewed (ages 29-75 years; 14 women), patients and caregivers expressed no concerns about patients being approached about participation before developing pneumonia; however, some patients may experience anxiety on learning about their risk for pneumonia. No concerns with study staff accessing patients' medical records were expressed. The clarity of consent information was important for understanding the study rather than having the condition under investigation. Among patients, caregivers, and institutional review board representatives, preferences varied regarding opt-out and precedent autonomy procedures. Nearly all patients would be willing to join a trial using the early enrollment strategy and caregivers would be willing to provide proxy consent. Institutional review board representatives were supportive of the strategy and made recommendations for the study protocol, primarily around informed consent. Investigators and study coordinators believed the strategy would not be burdensome and offered suggestions to ensure its feasibility. Conclusion and Relevance: Results of the study suggest that the early enrollment strategy is acceptable. Future research should evaluate whether the strategy improves enrollment rates in registrational pneumonia trials and in trials of other acute infection syndromes with narrow enrollment windows and/or patients with transient decisional incapacity.
Corneli, A; Perry, B; Collyar, D; Powers, JH; Farley, JJ; Calvert, SB; Santiago, J; Donnelly, HK; Swezey, T; Dombeck, CB; De Anda, C; Fowler, VG; Holland, TL
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