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J Clin Epidemiol. 2019 Jun 10;115:37-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2019.06.002. [Epub ahead of print]

Result dissemination from clinical trials conducted at German university medical centers was delayed and incomplete.

Author information

1
Institute for Ethics, History, and Philosophy of Medicine, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany.
2
QUEST Center for Transforming Biomedical Research, Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany.
3
Institute for Evidence in Medicine (for Cochrane Germany Foundation), Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany; Cochrane Germany Foundation, Freiburg, Germany.
4
Department of Experimental Neurology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
5
Cochrane Germany Foundation, Freiburg, Germany.
6
Center for Stroke Research Berlin, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
7
QUEST Center for Transforming Biomedical Research, Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany; Department of Experimental Neurology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
8
Institute for Evidence in Medicine (for Cochrane Germany Foundation), Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany.
9
Institute for Ethics, History, and Philosophy of Medicine, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany; QUEST Center for Transforming Biomedical Research, Berlin Institute of Health, Berlin, Germany; Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address: daniel.strech@charite.de.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Timely and comprehensive reporting of clinical trial results builds the backbone of evidence-based medicine and responsible research. The proportion of timely disseminated trial results can inform alternative national and international benchmarking of university medical centers (UMCs).

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING:

For all German UMCs, we tracked all registered trials completed between 2009 and 2013. The results and an interactive website benchmark German UMCs regarding their performance in result dissemination.

RESULTS:

We identified and tracked 2,132 clinical trials. For 1,509 trials, one of the German UMCs took the academic lead. Of these 1,509 "lead trials," 39% published their results (mostly via journal publications) in a timely manner (<24 months after completion). More than 6 years after study completion, 26% of all eligible lead trials still had not disseminated results.

CONCLUSION:

Despite substantial attention from many stakeholders to the topic, there is still a strong delay or even absence of result dissemination for many trials. German UMCs have several opportunities to improve this situation. Further research should evaluate whether and how a transparent benchmarking of UMC performance in result dissemination helps to increase value and reduce waste in medical research.

KEYWORDS:

Cross-sectional study; Evidence-based medicine; Good scientific practice; Publication bias; Result reporting; Trial registration

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