Many questions in healthcare are currently not or not sufficiently studied in clinical trials, despite their high societal importance, e.g. comparison between medication and surgery, between different surgical techniques, between lifestyle changes and a medical intervention, etc. KCE concluded in the summer of 2015 that public funding of such trials would be beneficial (Report 246-2015) under certain conditions. These trials not only contribute to better patient care but also to a more efficient use of public resources.
The KCE Trials programme, including the 2018 call, focuses on comparative effectiveness trials which show clear value for money and have the potential for return on investment. 'Comparative effectiveness ' studies compare two treatment options (including no treatment) that are already in use in clinical practice in a given indication, but are not yet sufficiently directly compared (i.e. which of the two treatment options work best in daily practice). Accepted study interventions are not limited to drugs or medical devices but also include a broad range of interventions for example psychotherapy, diet, diagnostic tests or surgery.
The first step in starting trials within the KCE Trials programme is identifying research questions that are important for the quality and efficiency of the Belgian health care system. To do so, calls for proposals are advertised regularly to give the opportunity to the stakeholders of the Belgian health care system to suggest possible research questions for the KCE Trials programme. Calls for proposals are posted on the KCE Trials website and fall within one of the three different workstreams.