Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials – COMET

An interview with Paula Willamson and Liz Gargon

“A core outcome set (COS) is an agreed standardised set of outcomes that should be measured and reported, as a minimum, in all clinical trials in specific areas of health or health care.”

This clarifies directly what the COMET initiative is about. But it also leaves open a lot of questions such as:

  • Why are COS important?
  • What are the goals of COMET?
  • How narrow or how wide should COS be defined?
  • What does the process look like to get to COS?

Listen to this episode of our podcast and learn from Paula Williamson and Liz Gargon about this important initiative.


Professor Paula Williamson

Paula Williamson is Professor of Biostatistics, and was appointed as APVC for Strategy and Policy in the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences in 2018. She is Lead for the MRC/NIHR Trials Methodology Research Partnership (TMRP). She was Head of the Department of Biostatistics, 2002-2018, and Director of the Clinical Trials Research Centre, 2005-2018. Paula chairs the University of Liverpool’s Health and Biomedical Informatics Group. Paula co-founded and has led the COMET (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) Initiative since 2010. She was appointed as an NIHR Senior Investigator in 2014, gave the Bradford Hill Lecture in 2017, and was elected to the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2018.

Williamson, Paula

Dr. Elizabeth Gargon
(COMET Project Coordinator)

Elizabeth Gargon obtained a PhD in the Institute of Translational Medicine (Biostatistics) at the University of Liverpool. Elizabeth is the Project Coordinator for the COMET (Core Outcome Measures in Effectiveness Trials) Initiative. Liz conducts an annual systematic review of core outcome sets (COS) and maintains a database of COS ( Liz’s recent projects have involved working with external colleagues to understand, develop and test complex automated methods to help with the screening process involved in a systematic review of this nature. Liz has also recently explored the impact of design characteristics on response rates in Delphi surveys within COS development, as well as carrying out a retrospective assessment of COS minimum standards (COS-STAD) for cancer COS to provide a baseline of caner COS standards. Liz’s current projects include the redevelopment of the COMET website and database, the recent update of the systematic review of COS (including an assessment of minimum standards in COS published in 2018) as well as developing a protocol to assess the uptake of a COS.  

Gargon, Liz

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