The randomised controlled trial (RCT) is recognised as the “gold standard” research design for testing treatments to improve health and well-being. However, such group-based studies cannot tell us whether a specific treatment is effective for an individual patient. The findings from RCTs focus on the average group response to a treatment and provide little information about the response of individual patients. In fact, research shows only 50% of patients or less experience a benefit to commonly prescribed medications.(1,2)

What are N-of-1 trials and Single-Case Designs?

N-of-1 trials and Single-Case Designs (SCDs) are a set of rigorous scientific methods that can provide information about what works best for an individual patient. Instead of evaluating a treatment by comparing aggregated data collected from two or more groups (e.g. one group assigned to treatment and one group assigned to control), N-of-1 trials and SCDs test the effect of the treatment in the individual patient, by allocating different time periods to treatment and control. Therefore, the individual acts as their own control. N-of-1 trials and SCDs involve repeated measurements of the outcome of interest (e.g. symptoms), often measured with the help of digital technologies such as wearables and apps. The individualised findings from these studies result in greater precision in treating an individual compare to the informal ‘trial-and-error’ approach typically used in clinical practice.

We are recruiting general practitioners to participate in this study.

Contact

Contact the Chief Investigator, Dr Suzanne McDonald, by email at suzanne.mcdonald@uq.edu.au or phone on 0490 936 307.