The prompted optional randomization trial: A new design for comparative effectiveness research
Comparative Effectiveness Research
Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
Randomized controlled trials are the gold standard for medical evidence because randomization provides the best-known protection against confounding of results. Randomization has practical and ethical problems that limit the number of trials that can be conducted, however. A different method for collecting clinical data retains the statistically useful properties of randomization without incurring its practical and ethical challenges. A computerized prompt introduces a random element into clinical decision-making that can be instantly overridden if it conflicts with optimal patient care. This creates a weak form of randomization that still eliminates the effect of all confounders, can be carried out without disturbing routine clinical care, and arguably will not require research-grade informed consent.