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November 19, 2008

Tracking Health Services Research Studies

JAMA. 2008;300(19):2252. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.612

To the Editor: In his Commentary, Dr Brook1 suggested that health services researchers “should have a responsibility to report the results of investigations in a public database, where they can readily be found.” ClinicalTrials.gov, the public registry of clinical research information operated by the National Institutes of Health, which in July 2008 contained nearly 60 000 studies, can be used for this purpose. Although originally conceived to disseminate information about traditional clinical trials, the registry may be used to track a wide variety of interventional and observational studies for a full range of interventions (eg, drugs, devices, behavioral treatments, medical procedures). Registrations are accepted from across the spectrum of trial funders, sponsors, and investigators worldwide. Registration requires studies of human participants with biomedical or health-related outcomes, institutional review board approval (or exemption), and conformance with any prevailing regulations or laws. As of July 28, 2008, the database contained more than 330 self-designated “health services research” studies.2