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How Do You Know Which Health Care Effectiveness Research You Can Trust? A Guide to Study Design for the Perplexed.

Soumerai SB, Starr D, Majumdar SR - Prev Chronic Dis (2015)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, 133 Brookline Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02215. Email: ssoumerai@hms.harvard.edu. Dr Soumerai is also co-chair of the Evaluative Sciences and Statistics Concentration of Harvard University's PhD Program in Health Policy.

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Medscape, LLC is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians... Medscape, LLC designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1... Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to: Define healthy user bias in health care research and means to reduce it Assess means to reduce selection bias in health care research Assess how to overcome confounding factors by indication in health care research Evaluate social desirability bias and history bias in health care research Another pattern in the evolution of science is that early studies of new treatments tend to show the most dramatic, positive health effects, and these effects diminish or disappear as more rigorous and larger studies are conducted... As these positive effects decrease, harmful side effects emerge... Sometimes researchers may publish overly definitive conclusions using unreliable study designs, reasoning that it is better to have unreliable data than no data at all and that the natural progression of science will eventually sort things out... We do not agree... For example, one of many weak cohort studies purported to show that flu vaccines reduce mortality in the elderly (Figure 2)... This study, which was widely reported in the news media and influenced policy, found significant differences in the rate of flu-related deaths and hospitalizations among the vaccinated elderly compared with that of their unvaccinated peers... One of the oldest and most accepted “truths” in the history of medication safety research is that benzodiazepines (popular medications such as Valium and Xanax that are prescribed for sleep and anxiety) may cause hip fractures among the elderly... This intervention took place during an explosion of research and news media reporting on treatments for acute myocardial infarction that could have influenced the prescribing behavior of physicians... These data demonstrate that inpatient mortality in the United States was declining before, during, and after the 100,000 Lives Campaign... The program itself probably had no effect on the trend, yet the widespread policy and media reports led to several European countries adopting this “successful” model of patient safety at considerable costs... Subsequently, several large RCTs demonstrated that many components of the 100,000 Lives Campaign were not particularly effective, especially when compared with the benefits reported in the IHI’s press releases.

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Strong randomized controlled trial design using an electronic device that caused an involuntary reduction in television and computer use. The difference in decline in viewing between the intervention group and control group was significant. Figure is based on data extracted from Epstein et al (42).
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Figure 15: Strong randomized controlled trial design using an electronic device that caused an involuntary reduction in television and computer use. The difference in decline in viewing between the intervention group and control group was significant. Figure is based on data extracted from Epstein et al (42).

Mentions: In 2008, researchers published a randomized controlled study of an intervention to reduce childhood television and computer use to decrease weight (42). Recognizing biases caused by self-reports and social desirability bias, the investigators installed an electronic device that was used to block about half the household television and computer time of one group of families (the intervention group). The investigators electronically measured the screen time of those families for 15 months and compared it with the screen time of families in a group whose screens were not blocked (control group) during that time. The participants did not know, and were not asked, how much television they were watching, and the researchers did not know which participants belonged to which group. These measures avoided socially desirable self-reporting, making the study results more valid than those in the previous example. The device reduced the amount of time spent watching television and videos by almost 18 hours per week in the intervention group, about 5 times more than the reduction found in the control group (Figure 15). Children in the intervention group also lost more weight than children in the control group.


How Do You Know Which Health Care Effectiveness Research You Can Trust? A Guide to Study Design for the Perplexed.

Soumerai SB, Starr D, Majumdar SR - Prev Chronic Dis (2015)

Strong randomized controlled trial design using an electronic device that caused an involuntary reduction in television and computer use. The difference in decline in viewing between the intervention group and control group was significant. Figure is based on data extracted from Epstein et al (42).
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4492215&req=5

Figure 15: Strong randomized controlled trial design using an electronic device that caused an involuntary reduction in television and computer use. The difference in decline in viewing between the intervention group and control group was significant. Figure is based on data extracted from Epstein et al (42).
Mentions: In 2008, researchers published a randomized controlled study of an intervention to reduce childhood television and computer use to decrease weight (42). Recognizing biases caused by self-reports and social desirability bias, the investigators installed an electronic device that was used to block about half the household television and computer time of one group of families (the intervention group). The investigators electronically measured the screen time of those families for 15 months and compared it with the screen time of families in a group whose screens were not blocked (control group) during that time. The participants did not know, and were not asked, how much television they were watching, and the researchers did not know which participants belonged to which group. These measures avoided socially desirable self-reporting, making the study results more valid than those in the previous example. The device reduced the amount of time spent watching television and videos by almost 18 hours per week in the intervention group, about 5 times more than the reduction found in the control group (Figure 15). Children in the intervention group also lost more weight than children in the control group.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, 133 Brookline Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02215. Email: ssoumerai@hms.harvard.edu. Dr Soumerai is also co-chair of the Evaluative Sciences and Statistics Concentration of Harvard University's PhD Program in Health Policy.

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Medscape, LLC is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians... Medscape, LLC designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1... Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to: Define healthy user bias in health care research and means to reduce it Assess means to reduce selection bias in health care research Assess how to overcome confounding factors by indication in health care research Evaluate social desirability bias and history bias in health care research Another pattern in the evolution of science is that early studies of new treatments tend to show the most dramatic, positive health effects, and these effects diminish or disappear as more rigorous and larger studies are conducted... As these positive effects decrease, harmful side effects emerge... Sometimes researchers may publish overly definitive conclusions using unreliable study designs, reasoning that it is better to have unreliable data than no data at all and that the natural progression of science will eventually sort things out... We do not agree... For example, one of many weak cohort studies purported to show that flu vaccines reduce mortality in the elderly (Figure 2)... This study, which was widely reported in the news media and influenced policy, found significant differences in the rate of flu-related deaths and hospitalizations among the vaccinated elderly compared with that of their unvaccinated peers... One of the oldest and most accepted “truths” in the history of medication safety research is that benzodiazepines (popular medications such as Valium and Xanax that are prescribed for sleep and anxiety) may cause hip fractures among the elderly... This intervention took place during an explosion of research and news media reporting on treatments for acute myocardial infarction that could have influenced the prescribing behavior of physicians... These data demonstrate that inpatient mortality in the United States was declining before, during, and after the 100,000 Lives Campaign... The program itself probably had no effect on the trend, yet the widespread policy and media reports led to several European countries adopting this “successful” model of patient safety at considerable costs... Subsequently, several large RCTs demonstrated that many components of the 100,000 Lives Campaign were not particularly effective, especially when compared with the benefits reported in the IHI’s press releases.

Show MeSH