B&B Faculty and Researchers ask: Are Global health trials Overstating their impact

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Liz Turner, PhD
Jul. 21, 2021

Faculty Liz Turner, PhD, and BERD Core (Biostatistics, Epidemiology and Research Design) Researchers Alyssa Platt, MA, John Gallis, Sc.M, as well as other members of the Research Design and Analysis Core of the Duke Global Health Institute recently co-authored a paper in the Lancet Global Health asserting that many clinical trial results give an incomplete picture of the potential benefits of health interventions. 

Positive results from a randomized trial can often be enough to convince global health policymakers to invest in wide-scale implementation of a new health intervention. But incomplete and inaccurate reporting of trial data may be inflating the potential impact of some research findings, according to a new study led by Duke data scientists.

In an article published in the journal Lancet Global Health, the researchers found that more than 80% of published results from cluster randomized trials, a type of trial common in global health, did not follow international standards for data reporting, leaving them open to misinterpretation. “Many reports provide only partial information, and the way in which the findings are reported could be interpreted as being of greater benefit than in reality,” says Elizabeth Turner, Ph.D., associate professor of biostatistics, bioinformatics and global health and the study’s lead author.

Read the complete article at Duke Global Health Institute

Alyssa Platt, MA
John Gallis Sc.M