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Person-Centered Research: A novel approach to Randomized Controlled Trials

Reza A Badian, Brendan McCormack, Vibeke Sundling


Introduction: Integrating person-centered values with randomized controlled trials methodology is a novel idea. Person-centeredness is gaining steadily more prominence and attention in healthcare and health-related policy and research. Randomized controlled trials are considered as the gold standard in evidence-based medicine for evaluating the effects of treatment or determining the causal effect. A wide array of study designs is available, but there is a lack of designs with both strong person-centered principles and a strong position with respect to the level of evidence. In this paper we intend to introduce a novel design to fill such a gap.

Aims and objectives: The aim of this paper is to introduce a novel study design where essential values of person-centered care (PCC) are integrated with randomized controlled trial (RCT) methodology into a novel study design termed a person-centered randomized controlled trial (PC-RCT).

Methods: In this paper we discuss the importance and role of evidence in clinical research, levels of evidence, as well as the significance of study design in evidence-based medicine. Moreover, we discuss randomized controlled trials that are considered the gold standard to achieve high quality evidence. In this paper we will explain what the concept of person-centered care is and discuss the values associated with person-centeredness.

The theoretical and methodological considerations that are relevant in applying this concept will be discussed before presenting how we intend to incorporate person-centered values into a randomized controlled trial in a novel study design that is both person-centered and randomized controlled (PC-RCT). Different aspects of this proposed novel study design will be discussed, including the theory and methods underlying this new proposed design, its novelty, different stages and practical steps involved in this proposed design. Challenges, drawbacks and possible solutions for addressing challenges of this novel design will be explored, focusing on the construct, dynamics, advantages, disadvantages and novelty of PC-RCT design.

Conclusion: This paper presents how person-centered values and traditional randomised controlled trial principal values are integrated into one study design where the strengths of both concepts are merged into one. The proposed novel study design has stronger person-centered characteristics and is solid in its RCT features. This design ensures that participants have much more active participation in decision-making and gain more choice in their treatment. The proposed novel study design in this paper has clearly an important role to play in satisfying the need for a study design that can address both the need for rendering higher levels of evidence as well as simultaneously securing greater integration of person-centered values in the same study design.


Levels of evidence, novel study design, person-centered care, person-centeredness, person-centered randomized controlled trial, randomized controlled trial

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