Designing a pilot sequential multiple assignment randomized trial for developing an adaptive treatment strategy

Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.
Statistics in Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.04). 07/2012; 31(17):1887-902. DOI: 10.1002/sim.4512
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT There is growing interest in how best to adapt and readapt treatments to individuals to maximize clinical benefit. In response, adaptive treatment strategies (ATS), which operationalize adaptive, sequential clinical decision making, have been developed. From a patient's perspective an ATS is a sequence of treatments, each individualized to the patient's evolving health status. From a clinician's perspective, an ATS is a sequence of decision rules that input the patient's current health status and output the next recommended treatment. Sequential multiple assignment randomized trials (SMART) have been developed to address the sequencing questions that arise in the development of ATSs, but SMARTs are relatively new in clinical research. This article provides an introduction to ATSs and SMART designs. This article also discusses the design of SMART pilot studies to address feasibility concerns, and to prepare investigators for a full-scale SMART. We consider an example SMART for the development of an ATS in the treatment of pediatric generalized anxiety disorders. Using the example SMART, we identify and discuss design issues unique to SMARTs that are best addressed in an external pilot study prior to the full-scale SMART. We also address the question of how many participants are needed in a SMART pilot study. A properly executed pilot study can be used to effectively address concerns about acceptability and feasibility in preparation for (that is, prior to) executing a full-scale SMART.

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    ABSTRACT: The management of many health disorders often entails a sequential, individualized approach whereby treatment is adapted and readapted over time in response to the specific needs and evolving status of the individual. Adaptive interventions provide one way to operationalize the strategies (e.g., continue, augment, switch, step-down) leading to individualized sequences of treatment. Often, a wide variety of critical questions must be answered when developing a high-quality adaptive intervention. Yet, there is often insufficient empirical evidence or theoretical basis to address these questions. The Sequential Multiple Assignment Randomized Trial (SMART)-a type of research design-was developed explicitly for the purpose of building optimal adaptive interventions by providing answers to such questions. Despite increasing popularity, SMARTs remain relatively new to intervention scientists. This manuscript provides an introduction to adaptive interventions and SMARTs. We discuss SMART design considerations, including common primary and secondary aims. For illustration, we discuss the development of an adaptive intervention for optimizing weight loss among adult individuals who are overweight.
    09/2014; 4(3):260-74. DOI:10.1007/s13142-014-0265-0
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    ABSTRACT: Background Despite the availability of psychosocial evidence-based practices (EBPs), treatment and outcomes for persons with mental disorders remain suboptimal. Replicating Effective Programs (REP), an effective implementation strategy, still resulted in less than half of sites using an EBP. The primary aim of this cluster randomized trial is to determine, among sites not initially responding to REP, the effect of adaptive implementation strategies that begin with an External Facilitator (EF) or with an External Facilitator plus an Internal Facilitator (IF) on improved EBP use and patient outcomes in 12 months.Methods/DesignThis study employs a sequential multiple assignment randomized trial (SMART) design to build an adaptive implementation strategy. The EBP to be implemented is life goals (LG) for patients with mood disorders across 80 community-based outpatient clinics (N¿=¿1,600 patients) from different U.S. regions. Sites not initially responding to REP (defined as <50% patients receiving ¿3 EBP sessions) will be randomized to receive additional support from an EF or both EF/IF. Additionally, sites randomized to EF and still not responsive will be randomized to continue with EF alone or to receive EF/IF. The EF provides technical expertise in adapting LG in routine practice, whereas the on-site IF has direct reporting relationships to site leadership to support LG use in routine practice. The primary outcome is mental health-related quality of life; secondary outcomes include receipt of LG sessions, mood symptoms, implementation costs, and organizational change.DiscussionThis study design will determine whether an off-site EF alone versus the addition of an on-site IF improves EBP uptake and patient outcomes among sites that do not respond initially to REP. It will also examine the value of delaying the provision of EF/IF for sites that continue to not respond despite EF.Trial identifier: NCT02151331.
    Implementation Science 09/2014; 9(1):132. DOI:10.1186/s13012-014-0132-x · 3.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background In order to develop Stepped Care trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT), a definition of early response/non-response is needed to guide decisions about the need for subsequent treatment. Objective The purpose of this article is to (1) establish criterion for defining an early indicator of response/non-response to the first step within Stepped Care TF-CBT, and (2) to explore the preliminary clinical utility of the early response/non-response criterion. Method Data from two studies were used: (1) treatment outcome data from a clinical trial in which 17 young children (ages 3–6 years) received therapist-directed CBT for children with posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) were examined to empirically establish the number of PTSS to define early treatment response/non-response; and (2) three case examples with young children in Stepped Care TF-CBT were used to explore the utility of the treatment response criterion. Results For defining the responder status criterion, an algorithm of either three or fewer PTSS on a clinician-rated measure or being below the clinical cutoff score on a parent-rated measure of childhood PTSS, and being rated as improved, much improved or free of symptoms functioned well for determining whether or not to step up to more intensive treatment. Case examples demonstrated how the criterion were used to guide subsequent treatment, and that responder status criterion after Step One may or may not be aligned with parent preference. Conclusion Although further investigation is needed, the responder status criterion for young children used after Step One of Stepped Care TF-CBT appears promising.
    Child and Youth Care Forum 02/2015; 44(1). DOI:10.1007/s10566-014-9270-1 · 1.25 Impact Factor