The research process to analyse real world data that generates real world evidence is generally time-consuming, requiring considerable efforts and resources and planning over an extended period of time before its results can be shared, such as via publications. Meanwhile, patients, clinicians, and healthcare providers need evidence to support decision-making from individual treatment to populations and public health policy, and more quickly than we have been used to, to date. This EHDEN/OHDSI article published on 17 November, 2022 in JAMIA Open: Evaluating a novel approach to stimulate open science collaborations: a case series of “study-a-thon” events within the OHDSI and European IMI communities describes an approach to accelerating the research process, bringing together relevant research and clinical practitioners, whilst not undermining confidence in the research results.
Within the article the research event, or study-a-thon, is described, using six examples since 2017, within an international research network, Observational Health Data Sciences and Informatics (OHDSI). These examples help illustrate the steps required to conduct a study-a-thon, the use of health data under the right conditions, and learning from this process for others to consider using study-a-thons to accelerate their own research process where relevant. For the authors and colleagues in the OHDSI network, the open nature of conducting research via study-a-thons can also ensure full transparency of the process for all involved, as well as being able to reproduce results more readily, a key principle in good scientific conduct.
Real world evidence generated during EHDEN/OHDSI study-a-thons that has helped inform medication/treatment development and regulatory policy/health technology assessment in diseases such as COVID-19, prostate cancer, knee replacement and many more can be found here.