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Contemp Clin Trials. 2011 Sep;32(5):620-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2011.05.015. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Coordination and management of multisite complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies: experience from a multisite reflexology intervention trial.

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  • 1Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Texas School of Public Health at Houston, Houston, TX 77030, United States.



Multisite randomized clinical trials allow for increased research collaboration among investigators and expedite data collection efforts. As a result, government funding agencies typically look favorably upon this approach. As the field of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) continues to evolve, so do increased calls for the use of more rigorous study design and trial methodologies, which can present challenges for investigators.


To describe the processes involved in the coordination and management of a multisite randomized clinical trial of a CAM intervention.


Key aspects related to the coordination and management of a multisite CAM randomized clinical trial are presented, including organizational and site selection considerations, recruitment concerns and issues related to data collection and randomization to treatment groups. Management and monitoring of data, as well as quality assurance procedures are described. Finally, a real world perspective is shared from a recently conducted multisite randomized clinical trial of reflexology for women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.


The use of multiple sites in the conduct of CAM-based randomized clinical trials can provide an efficient, collaborative and robust approach to study coordination and data collection that maximizes efficiency and ensures the quality of results.


Multisite randomized clinical trial designs can offer the field of CAM research a more standardized and efficient approach to examine the effectiveness of novel therapies and treatments. Special attention must be given to intervention fidelity, consistent data collection and ensuring data quality. Assessment and reporting of quantitative indicators of data quality should be required.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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