Predicting Clinical Trial Results: A Synthesis of Five Empirical Studies and Their Implications
Perspectives in Biology and Medicine
ISSN or ISBN
Expectations about future events underlie practically every decision we make, including those in medical research. This paper reviews five studies undertaken to assess how well medical experts could predict the outcomes of clinical trials. It explains why expert trial forecasting was the focus of study and argues that forecasting skill affords insights into the quality of expert judgment and might be harnessed to improve decision-making in care, policy, and research. The paper also addresses potential criticisms of the research agenda and summarizes key findings from the five studies of trial forecasting. Together, the studies suggest that trials frequently deliver surprising results to expert communities and that individual experts are often uninformative when it comes to forecasting trial outcome and recruitment. However, the findings also suggest that expert forecasts often contain a "signal" about whether a trial will be positive, especially when forecasts are aggregated. The paper concludes with needs for further research and tentative policy recommendations.
Kimmelman, Jonathan; Mandel, David R.; and Benjamin, Daniel M., "Predicting Clinical Trial Results: A Synthesis of Five Empirical Studies and Their Implications" (2023). HCBE Faculty Articles. 1180.