The Boston Network for contemporary rehabilitation outcome measurement (the Boston CRO Network), a collaboration among researchers from Boston University, Harvard Medical School/ Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Tufts University, would greatly enhance the capability of medical rehabilitation researchers to understand outcome measures, develop and refine measures of key rehabilitation outcomes, and improve their use in rehabilitation medicine clinical trials and related research. This theme is particularly relevant given the demand from payers, policy makers, clinicians and consumers for evidence to support the effectiveness of rehabilitation interventions. The timing of its formation is ideal, given the recent advances in patient reported outcomes, innovations in performance-based outcome measures, and instrumented outcome measures have made it possible to overcome many of the limitations of traditional outcome measures. The selection of outcome measures for clinical trials remains a complex process, and most rehabilitation clinicians and researchers lack training to ensure the appropriate measures are used. The Boston CRO Network would provide medical rehabilitation researchers with access to resources, training and technical support to improve the selection and use of CROs in rehabilitation clinical trials to assist with increasing the number and quality of successfully completed RCTs in the field of medical rehabilitation. The Boston CRO Network consists of a Research Core, a Techniques Development Section, a Training &Didactic Core, and an Administrative Core. The Research Core would include a Patient Reported Outcomes Core, a Performance-based Measures Core, and an Instrumented Outcomes Measurement Core along with Pilot Studies and Visiting Scientist Programs. The Training &Dissemination Core will conduct systematic reviews of CROs, establish a web-based CRO Instrument Clearinghouse;conduct training workshops &webcasts, and widely disseminate Boston CRO Network resources, pilot project results and training activities. The goal of the Boston CRO Network is to provide resources, training and technical support with the aim of increasing the number and quality of successfully completed rehabilitation RCTs.
Selecting outcome measures to assess the benefits of rehabilitation interventions is a crucial step in designing rehabilitation clinical trials. This is a daunting task due to the number of different outcome measures that are available, the variety of concepts or domains that may be assessed, and the lack of training in measurement theory and methods. The Boston CRO Network will provide rehabilitation researchers with resources and training to help them select and use appropriate CROs in clinical research.
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