Chapter 5: assessing risk of bias as a domain of quality in medical test studies.

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2012-06

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Abstract

Assessing methodological quality is a necessary activity for any systematic review, including those evaluating the evidence for studies of medical test performance. Judging the overall quality of an individual study involves examining the size of the study, the direction and degree of findings, the relevance of the study, and the risk of bias in the form of systematic error, internal validity, and other study limitations. In this chapter of the Methods Guide for Medical Test Reviews, we focus on the evaluation of risk of bias in the form of systematic error in an individual study as a distinctly important component of quality in studies of medical test performance, specifically in the context of estimating test performance (sensitivity and specificity). We make the following recommendations to systematic reviewers: 1) When assessing study limitations that are relevant to the test under evaluation, reviewers should select validated criteria that examine the risk of systematic error, 2) categorizing the risk of bias for individual studies as "low," "medium," or "high" is a useful way to proceed, and 3) methods for determining an overall categorization for the study limitations should be established a priori and documented clearly.

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10.1007/s11606-012-2030-8

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Santaguida, P Lina, Crystal M Riley and David B Matchar (2012). Chapter 5: assessing risk of bias as a domain of quality in medical test studies. Journal of general internal medicine, 27 Suppl 1(SUPPL.1). pp. S33–S38. 10.1007/s11606-012-2030-8 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22837.

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Matchar

David Bruce Matchar

Professor of Medicine

My research relates to clinical practice improvement - from the development of clinical policies to their implementation in real world clinical settings. Most recently my major content focus has been cerebrovascular disease. Other major clinical areas in which I work include the range of disabling neurological conditions, cardiovascular disease, and cancer prevention.
Notable features of my work are: (1) reliance on analytic strategies such as meta-analysis, simulation, decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis; (2) a balancing of methodological rigor the needs of medical professionals; and (3) dependence on interdisciplinary groups of experts.
This approach is best illustrated by the Stroke Prevention Patient Outcome Research Team (PORT), for which I served as principal investigator. Funded by the AHCPR, the PORT involved 35 investigators at 13 institutions. The Stroke PORT has been highly productive and has led to a stroke prevention project funded as a public/private partnership by the AHCPR and DuPont Pharma, the Managing Anticoagulation Services Trial (MAST). MAST is a practice improvement trial in 6 managed care organizations, focussing on optimizing anticoagulation for individuals with atrial fibrillation.
I serve as consultant in the general area of analytic strategies for clinical policy development, as well as for specific projects related to stroke (e.g., acute stroke treatment, management of atrial fibrillation, and use of carotid endarterectomy.) I have worked with AHCPR (now AHRQ), ACP, AHA, AAN, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NSA, WHO, and several pharmaceutical companies.
Key Words: clinical policy, disease management, stroke, decision analysis, clinical guidelines


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