Real-World Evidence: A Primer

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Journal of orthopaedic trauma


SUMMARY: The insights that real-world data (RWD) can provide, beyond what can be learned within the traditional clinical trial setting, have gained enormous traction in recent years. RWD, which are increasingly available and accessible, can further our understanding of disease, disease progression, and safety and effectiveness of treatments with the speed and accuracy required by the health care environment and patients today. Over the decades since RWD were first recognized, innovation has evolved to take real-world research beyond finding ways to identify, store, and analyze large volumes of data. The research community has developed strong methods to address challenges of using RWD and as a result has increased the acceptance of RWD in research, practice, and policy. Historic concerns about RWD relate to data quality, privacy, and transparency; however, new tools, methods, and approaches mitigate these challenges and expand the utility of RWD to new applications. Specific guidelines for RWD use have been developed and published by numerous groups, including regulatory authorities. These and other efforts have shown that the more RWD are used and understood and the more the tools for handling it are refined, the more useful it will be.

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Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins