Evaluation of cultural competency in a South African cluster randomised controlled trial: lessons learned for trial reporting standards.
Siegfried NL., Hopewell S., Erasmus-Claassen L-A., Myers B.
BACKGROUND: Failure to consider relevant cultural, ethnic and diversity parameters (and the intersection between these parameters) during trial protocol development and trial conduct may negatively impact recruitment, intervention development and delivery, and participant adherence and retention, potentially reducing overall internal validity. This case study aimed to evaluate the utility and comparability between the 9-item Gibbs Framework to measure cultural competency and the GRIPP-2(Short Form (SF)) 5-point checklist to assess patient and public involvement in the context of a complex clinical trial conducted in an African setting. METHODS: We identified and collated all relevant publications, source and procedural data related to the trial and integrated the documents into a dynamic trial timeline. Two independent investigators applied and scored the Gibbs Framework and the GRIPP-2(SF) checklist to the four publications arising from the trial, noting functionality and comparability between tools. Where cultural competency was not met, a third investigator screened all procedural and source data and identified if cultural competency had been achieved but not reported in the publications, or if the trial had not met appropriate cultural competency based on the documentation. RESULTS: Application of the Gibbs Framework found that the trial scored '2' for seven of the nine Gibbs items, indicating full cultural competency for those questions. The Framework indicated that the trial research question was not driven by the articulated needs of patients, and neither were patients, caregivers and clinical providers involved in the development of the intervention. Comparability with the GRIPP-2(SF) checklist showed that the Gibbs performed better on evaluation of partnerships with the community, identification of culturally competent data sources and target populations, and appointment of trial staff in an inclusive manner. CONCLUSIONS: Comprehensive evaluation of the trial's cultural competency required scrutiny of both published manuscripts and source and procedural data, suggesting that there is a gap in current trial reporting standards with respect to cultural competence. TRIAL REGISTRATION: PACTR201610001825403. Registered on 17 October 2016.