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How Are Emerging Data Translated Into Clinical Practice? A Mixed Methods Investigation of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Institutional Treatment Protocols.
Asundi A, Resnik J, Benedict PA, Shin M, Rani Elwy A, Branch-Elliman W. How Are Emerging Data Translated Into Clinical Practice? A Mixed Methods Investigation of Coronavirus Disease 2019 Institutional Treatment Protocols. Open forum infectious diseases. 2021 Apr 1; 8(4):ofab072.
Early in the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, there was minimal data to guide treatment, and we lacked understanding of how clinicians translated this limited evidence base for potential therapeutics to bedside care. Our objective was to systematically determine how emerging data about COVID-19 treatments was implemented by analyzing institutional treatment protocols.
Treatment protocols from North American healthcare facilities and recommendations from guideline-issuing bodies were collected. Qualitative data on treatment regimens and their applications were extracted using an adapted National Institutes of Health/US Food and Drug Administration experimental therapeutics framework. Structured data on risk factor and severity of illness scoring systems were extracted and analyzed using descriptive statistics.
We extracted data from 105 independent protocols. Guideline-issuing organizations published recommendations after the initial peak of the pandemic in many regions and generally recommended clinical trial referral, with limited additional guidance. Facility-specific protocols favored offering some treatment (96.8%, N = 92 of 95), most commonly, hydroxychloroquine (90.5%), followed by remdesivir and interleukin-6 inhibitors. Recommendation for clinical trial enrollment was limited largely to academic medical centers (19 of 52 vs 9 of 43 community/Veterans Affairs [VA]), which were more likely to have access to research studies. Other themes identified included urgent protocol development, plans for rapid updates, contradictory statements, and entirely missing sections, with section headings but no content other than "in process."
In the COVID-19 pandemic, emerging information was rapidly implemented by institutions into clinical practice and, unlike recommendations from guideline-issuing bodies, heavily favored administering some form of therapy. Understanding how and why evidence is translated into clinical care is critical to improve processes for other emerging diseases.