Using randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to test service interventions: issues of standardisation, selection and generalisability
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Using randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to test service interventions: issues of standardisation, selection and generalisability

Bill Watson Senior Lecturer in Nursing, School of Health, Community and Education Studies, Northumbria University, UK
Susan Procter Associate Nursing Director of Practice Development and Research, Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, UK
Wendy Cochrane Senior Dietician/Senior Research Assistant, Northumbria HealthCare NHS Trust/School of Health, Community and Education Studies, Northumbria University, UK

The commissioning of healthcare services is increasingly linked to the availability of rigorous evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness. In the current climate, ‘rigorous evidence’ is synonymous with the randomised controlled trial (RCT). Consequently, health technologies are often funded in preference to service developments due to an imbalance in the availability of strong evidence to support service developments. Simultaneously, there is an increasing policy emphasis on patient choice and individualised care in the NHS. In this paper Bill Watson, Susan Procter and Wendy Cochrane discuss the implications of using experimental methods in service development research, with reference to an ongoing RCT evaluating the component parts of pulmonary rehabilitation in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

Nurse Researcher. 11, 3, 28-42. doi: 10.7748/nr2004.04.11.3.28.c6203

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