Publications by authors named "Timo B Brakenhoff"

7 Publications

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A prospective, randomized, single-blinded, crossover trial to investigate the effect of a wearable device in addition to a daily symptom diary for the Remote Early Detection of SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-RED): a structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Oct 11;22(1):694. Epub 2021 Oct 11.

Julius Clinical, Zeist, the Netherlands.

Objectives: It is currently thought that most-but not all-individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop symptoms, but the infectious period starts on average 2 days before the first overt symptoms appear. It is estimated that pre- and asymptomatic individuals are responsible for more than half of all transmissions. By detecting infected individuals before they have overt symptoms, wearable devices could potentially and significantly reduce the proportion of transmissions by pre-symptomatic individuals. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests [to determine if there are antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the blood] or SARS-CoV-2 infection tests such as polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the following two algorithms to detect first time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: • The algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo; experimental condition) • The algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone (Symptom Only Algo; control condition) In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.

Trial Design: The trial is a randomized, single-blinded, two-period, two-sequence crossover trial. The study will start with an initial learning phase (maximum of 3 months), followed by period 1 (3 months) and period 2 (3 months). Subjects entering the study at the end of the recruitment period may directly start with period 1 and will not be part of the learning phase. Each subject will undergo the experimental condition (the Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) in either period 1 or period 2 and the control condition (Symptom Only Algo) in the other period. The order will be randomly assigned, resulting in subjects being allocated 1:1 to either sequence 1 (experimental condition first) or sequence 2 (control condition first). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence.

Participants: The trial will be conducted in the Netherlands. A target of 20,000 subjects will be enrolled. Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence. This results in approximately 6500 normal-risk individuals and 3500 high-risk individuals per sequence. Subjects will be recruited from previously studied cohorts as well as via public campaigns and social media. All data for this study will be collected remotely through the Ava COVID-RED app, the Ava bracelet, surveys in the COVID-RED web portal and self-sampling serology and PCR kits. More information on the study can be found in www.covid-red.eu . During recruitment, subjects will be invited to visit the COVID-RED web portal. After successfully completing the enrolment questionnaire, meeting eligibility criteria and indicating interest in joining the study, subjects will receive the subject information sheet and informed consent form. Subjects can enrol in COVID-RED if they comply with the following inclusion and exclusion criteria: Inclusion criteria: • Resident of the Netherlands • At least 18 years old • Informed consent provided (electronic) • Willing to adhere to the study procedures described in the protocol • Must have a smartphone that runs at least Android 8.0 or iOS 13.0 operating systems and is active for the duration of the study (in the case of a change of mobile number, the study team should be notified) • Be able to read, understand and write Dutch Exclusion criteria: • Previous positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (confirmed either through PCR/antigen or antibody tests; self-reported) • Current suspected (e.g. waiting for test result) COVID-19 infection or symptoms of a COVID-19 infection (self-reported) • Participating in any other COVID-19 clinical drug, vaccine or medical device trial (self-reported) • Electronic implanted device (such as a pacemaker; self-reported) • Pregnant at the time of informed consent (self-reported) • Suffering from cholinergic urticaria (per the Ava bracelet's user manual; self-reported) • Staff involved in the management or conduct of this study INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: All subjects will be instructed to complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app daily, wear their Ava bracelet each night and synchronize it with the app each day for the entire period of study participation. Provided with wearable sensor and/or self-reported symptom data within the last 24 h, the Ava COVID-RED app's underlying algorithms will provide subjects with a real-time indicator of their overall health and well-being. Subjects will see one of three messages, notifying them that no seeming deviations in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected; some changes in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected and they should self-isolate; or alerting them that deviations in their symptoms and/or physiological parameters could be suggestive of a potential COVID-19 infection and to seek additional testing. We will assess the intraperson performance of the algorithms in the experimental condition (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) and control conditions (Symptom Only Algo). Note that both algorithms will also instruct to seek testing when any SARS-CoV-2 symptoms are reported in line with those defined by the Dutch national institute for public health and the environment 'Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu' (RIVM) guidelines.

Main Outcomes: The trial will evaluate the use and performance of the Ava COVID-RED app and Ava bracelet, which uses sensors to measure breathing rate, pulse rate, skin temperature and heart rate variability for the purpose of early and asymptomatic detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in general and high-risk populations. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests, PCR tests and/or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for each of the following two algorithms to detect first-time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with the self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data and the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone. In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing. The protocol contains an additional twenty secondary and exploratory objectives which address, among others, infection incidence rates, health resource utilization, symptoms reported by SARS-CoV-2-infected participants and the rate of breakthrough and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections among individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. PCR or antigen testing will occur when the subject receives a notification from the algorithm to seek additional testing. Subjects will be advised to get tested via the national testing programme and report the testing result in the Ava COVID-RED app and a survey. If they cannot obtain a test via the national testing programme, they will receive a nasal swab self-sampling kit at home, and the sample will be tested by PCR in a trial-affiliated laboratory. In addition, all subjects will be asked to take a capillary blood sample at home at baseline (between month 0 and 3.5 months after the start of subject recruitment), at the end of the learning phase (month 3; note that this sampling moment is skipped if a subject entered the study at the end of the recruitment period), period 1 (month 6) and period 2 (month 9). These samples will be used for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody testing in a trial-affiliated laboratory, differentiating between antibodies resulting from a natural infection and antibodies resulting from COVID-19 vaccination (as vaccination will gradually be rolled out during the trial period). Baseline samples will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of the learning phase is positive, or if the subject entered the study at the end of the recruitment period, and samples collected at the end of period 1 will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of period 2 is positive. When subjects obtain a positive PCR/antigen or serology test result during the study, they will continue to be in the study but will be moved into a so-called COVID-positive mode in the Ava COVID-RED app. This means that they will no longer receive recommendations from the algorithms but can still contribute and track symptom and bracelet data. The primary analysis of the main objective will be executed using the data collected in period 2 (months 6 through 9). Within this period, serology tests (before and after period 2) and PCR/antigen tests (taken based on recommendations by the algorithms) will be used to determine if a subject was infected with SARS-CoV-2 or not. Within this same time period, it will be determined if the algorithms gave any recommendations for testing. The agreement between these quantities will be used to evaluate the performance of the algorithms and how these compare between the study conditions.

Randomization: All eligible subjects will be randomized using a stratified block randomization approach with an allocation ratio of 1:1 to one of two sequences (experimental condition followed by control condition or control condition followed by experimental condition). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence, resulting in approximately equal numbers of high-risk and normal-risk individuals between the sequences.

Blinding (masking): In this study, subjects will be blinded to the study condition and randomization sequence. Relevant study staff and the device manufacturer will be aware of the assigned sequence. The subject will wear the Ava bracelet and complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app for the full duration of the study, and they will not know if the feedback they receive about their potential infection status will only be based on the data they entered in the Daily Symptom Diary within the Ava COVID-RED app or based on both the data from the Daily Symptom Diary and the Ava bracelet.

Numbers To Be Randomized (sample Size): A total of 20,000 subjects will be recruited and randomized 1:1 to either sequence 1 (experimental condition followed by control condition) or sequence 2 (control condition followed by experimental condition), taking into account their risk level. This results in approximately 6500 normal-risk and 3500 high-risk individuals per sequence.

Trial Status: Protocol version: 3.0, dated May 3, 2021. Start of recruitment: February 19, 2021. End of recruitment: June 3, 2021. End of follow-up (estimated): November 2021 TRIAL REGISTRATION: The Netherlands Trial Register on the 18 of February, 2021 with number NL9320 ( https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/9320 ) FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05643-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8503725PMC
October 2021

A prospective, randomized, single-blinded, crossover trial to investigate the effect of a wearable device in addition to a daily symptom diary for the remote early detection of SARS-CoV-2 infections (COVID-RED): a structured summary of a study protocol for a randomized controlled trial.

Trials 2021 Jun 22;22(1):412. Epub 2021 Jun 22.

Julius Clinical, Zeist, the Netherlands.

Objectives: It is currently thought that most-but not all-individuals infected with SARS-CoV-2 develop symptoms, but that the infectious period starts on average two days before the first overt symptoms appear. It is estimated that pre- and asymptomatic individuals are responsible for more than half of all transmissions. By detecting infected individuals before they have overt symptoms, wearable devices could potentially and significantly reduce the proportion of transmissions by pre-symptomatic individuals. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests [to determine if there are antibodies against the SARS-CoV-2 in the blood] or SARS-CoV-2 infection tests such as polymerase chain reaction [PCR] or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for the following two algorithms to detect first time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava bracelet data when coupled with self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo; experimental condition) the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone (Symptom Only Algo; control condition) In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing.

Trial Design: The trial is a randomized, single-blinded, two-period, two-sequence crossover trial. All subjects will participate in an initial Learning Phase (varying from 2 weeks to 3 months depending on enrolment date), followed by two contiguous 3-month test phases, Period 1 and Period 2. Each subject will undergo the experimental condition (the Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) in one of these periods and the control condition (Symptom Only Algo) in the other period. The order will be randomly assigned, resulting in subjects being allocated 1:1 to either Sequence 1 (experimental condition first) or Sequence 2 (control condition first). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence.

Participants: The trial will be conducted in the Netherlands. A target of 20,000 subjects will be enrolled. Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence. This results in approximately 6,500 normal-risk individuals and 3,500 high-risk individuals per sequence. Subjects will be recruited from previously studied cohorts as well as via public campaigns and social media. All data for this study will be collected remotely through the Ava COVID-RED app, the Ava bracelet, surveys in the COVID-RED web portal, and self-sampling serology and PCR kits. During recruitment, subjects will be invited to visit the COVID-RED web portal ( www.covid-red.eu ). After successfully completing the enrolment questionnaire, meeting eligibility criteria and indicating interest in joining the study, subjects will receive the subject information sheet and informed consent form. Subjects can enrol in COVID-RED if they comply with the following inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusion Criteria: Resident of the Netherlands At least 18 years old Informed consent provided (electronic) Willing to adhere to the study procedures described in the protocol Must have a smartphone that runs at least Android 8.0 or iOS 13.0 operating systems and is active for the duration of the study (in the case of a change of mobile number, study team should be notified) Be able to read, understand and write Dutch Exclusion criteria: Previous positive SARS-CoV-2 test result (confirmed either through PCR/antigen or antibody tests; self-reported) Previously received a vaccine developed specifically for COVID-19 or in possession of an appointment for vaccination in the near future (self-reported) Current suspected (e.g., waiting for test result) COVID-19 infection or symptoms of a COVID-19 infection (self-reported) Participating in any other COVID-19 clinical drug, vaccine, or medical device trial (self-reported) Electronic implanted device (such as a pacemaker; self-reported) Pregnant at time of informed consent (self-reported) Suffering from cholinergic urticaria (per the Ava bracelet's User Manual; self-reported) Staff involved in the management or conduct of this study INTERVENTION AND COMPARATOR: All subjects will be instructed to complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app daily, wear their Ava bracelet each night and synchronise it with the app each day for the entire period of study participation. Provided with wearable sensor and/or self-reported symptom data within the last 24 hours, the Ava COVID-RED app's underlying algorithms will provide subjects with a real-time indicator of their overall health and well-being. Subjects will see one of three messages, notifying them that: no seeming deviations in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected; some changes in symptoms and/or physiological parameters have been detected and they should self-isolate; or alerting them that deviations in their symptoms and/or physiological parameters could be suggestive of a potential COVID-19 infection and to seek additional testing. We will assess intraperson performance of the algorithms in the experimental condition (Wearable + Symptom Data Algo) and control conditions (Symptom Only Algo).

Main Outcomes: The trial will evaluate the use and performance of the Ava COVID-RED app and Ava bracelet, which uses sensors to measure breathing rate, pulse rate, skin temperature, and heart rate variability for the purpose of early and asymptomatic detection and monitoring of SARS-CoV-2 in general and high-risk populations. Using laboratory-confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infections (detected via serology tests, PCR tests and/or antigen tests) as the gold standard, we will determine the sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value (PPV) and negative predictive value (NPV) for each of the following two algorithms to detect first-time SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection: the algorithm using Ava Bracelet data when coupled with the self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data, and the algorithm using self-reported Daily Symptom Diary data alone. In addition, we will determine which of the two algorithms has superior performance characteristics for detecting SARS-CoV-2 infection including early or asymptomatic infection as confirmed by SARS-CoV-2 virus testing. The protocol contains an additional seventeen secondary outcomes which address infection incidence rates, health resource utilization, symptoms reported by SARS-CoV-2 infected participants, and the rate of breakthrough and asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections among individuals vaccinated against COVID-19. PCR or antigen testing will occur when the subject receives a notification from the algorithm to seek additional testing. Subjects will be advised to get tested via the national testing programme, and report the testing result in the Ava COVID-RED app and a survey. If they cannot obtain a test via the national testing programme, they will receive a nasal swab self-sampling kit at home, and the sample will be tested by PCR in a trial-affiliated laboratory. In addition, all subjects will be asked to take a capillary blood sample at home at baseline (Month 0), and at the end of the Learning Phase (Month 3), Period 1 (Month 6) and Period 2 (Month 9). These samples will be used for SARS-CoV-2-specific antibody testing in a trial-affiliated laboratory, differentiating between antibodies resulting from a natural infection and antibodies resulting from COVID-19 vaccination (as vaccination will gradually be rolled out during the trial period). Baseline samples will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of the Learning Phase is positive, and samples collected at the end of Period 1 will only be analysed if the sample collected at the end of Period 2 is positive. When subjects obtain a positive PCR/antigen or serology test result during the study, they will continue to be in the study but will be moved into a so-called "COVID-positive" mode in the Ava COVID-RED app. This means that they will no longer receive recommendations from the algorithms but can still contribute and track symptom and bracelet data. The primary analysis of the main objective will be executed using data collected in Period 2 (Month 6 through 9). Within this period, serology tests (before and after Period 2) and PCR/antigen tests (taken based on recommendations by the algorithms) will be used to determine if a subject was infected with SARS-CoV-2 or not. Within this same time period, it will be determined if the algorithms gave any recommendations for testing. The agreement between these quantities will be used to evaluate the performance of the algorithms and how these compare between the study conditions.

Randomisation: All eligible subjects will be randomized using a stratified block randomization approach with an allocation ratio of 1:1 to one of two sequences (experimental condition followed by control condition or control condition followed by experimental condition). Based on demographics, medical history and/or profession, each subject will be stratified at baseline into a high-risk and normal-risk group within each sequence, resulting in equal numbers of high-risk and normal-risk individuals between the sequences.

Blinding (masking): In this study, subjects will be blinded as to study condition and randomization sequence. Relevant study staff and the device manufacturer will be aware of the assigned sequence. The subject will wear the Ava bracelet and complete the Daily Symptom Diary in the Ava COVID-RED app for the full duration of the study, and they will not know if the feedback they receive about their potential infection status will only be based on data they entered in the Daily Symptom Diary within the Ava COVID-RED app or based on both the data from the Daily Symptom Diary and the Ava bracelet.

Numbers To Be Randomised (sample Size): 20,000 subjects will be recruited and randomized 1:1 to either Sequence 1 (experimental condition followed by control condition) or Sequence 2 (control condition followed by experimental condition), taking into account their risk level. This results in approximately 6,500 normal-risk and 3,500 high-risk individuals per sequence.

Trial Status: Protocol version: 1.2, dated January 22, 2021 Start of recruitment: February 22, 2021 End of recruitment (estimated): April 2021 End of follow-up (estimated): December 2021 TRIAL REGISTRATION: The trial has been registered at the Netherlands Trial Register on the 18 of February, 2021 with number NL9320 ( https://www.trialregister.nl/trial/9320 ) FULL PROTOCOL: The full protocol is attached as an additional file, accessible from the Trials website (Additional file 1). In the interest in expediting dissemination of this material, the familiar formatting has been eliminated; this Letter serves as a summary of the key elements of the full protocol.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13063-021-05241-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8218271PMC
June 2021

Adjusting for Disease Severity Across ICUs in Multicenter Studies.

Crit Care Med 2019 08;47(8):e662-e668

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Objectives: To compare methods to adjust for confounding by disease severity during multicenter intervention studies in ICU, when different disease severity measures are collected across centers.

Design: In silico simulation study using national registry data.

Setting: Twenty mixed ICUs in The Netherlands.

Subjects: Fifty-five-thousand six-hundred fifty-five ICU admissions between January 1, 2011, and January 1, 2016.

Interventions: None.

Measurements And Main Results: To mimic an intervention study with confounding, a fictitious treatment variable was simulated whose effect on the outcome was confounded by Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation IV predicted mortality (a common measure for disease severity). Diverse, realistic scenarios were investigated where the availability of disease severity measures (i.e., Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation IV, Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II, and Simplified Acute Physiology Score II scores) varied across centers. For each scenario, eight different methods to adjust for confounding were used to obtain an estimate of the (fictitious) treatment effect. These were compared in terms of relative (%) and absolute (odds ratio) bias to a reference scenario where the treatment effect was estimated following correction for the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation IV scores from all centers. Complete neglect of differences in disease severity measures across centers resulted in bias ranging from 10.2% to 173.6% across scenarios, and no commonly used methodology-such as two-stage modeling or score standardization-was able to effectively eliminate bias. In scenarios where some of the included centers had (only) Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II or Simplified Acute Physiology Score II available (and not Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation IV), either restriction of the analysis to Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation IV centers alone or multiple imputation of Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation IV scores resulted in the least amount of relative bias (0.0% and 5.1% for Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II, respectively, and 0.0% and 4.6% for Simplified Acute Physiology Score II, respectively). In scenarios where some centers used Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation II, regression calibration yielded low relative bias too (relative bias, 12.4%); this was not true if these same centers only had Simplified Acute Physiology Score II available (relative bias, 54.8%).

Conclusions: When different disease severity measures are available across centers, the performance of various methods to control for confounding by disease severity may show important differences. When planning multicenter studies, researchers should make contingency plans to limit the use of or properly incorporate different disease measures across centers in the statistical analysis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CCM.0000000000003822DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6629171PMC
August 2019

Investigating Risk Adjustment Methods for Health Care Provider Profiling When Observations are Scarce or Events Rare.

Health Serv Insights 2018 5;11:1178632918785133. Epub 2018 Jul 5.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Background: When profiling health care providers, adjustment for case-mix is essential. However, conventional risk adjustment methods may perform poorly, especially when provider volumes are small or events rare. Propensity score (PS) methods, commonly used in observational studies of binary treatments, have been shown to perform well when the amount of observations and/or events are low and can be extended to a multiple provider setting. The objective of this study was to evaluate the performance of different risk adjustment methods when profiling multiple health care providers that perform highly protocolized procedures, such as coronary artery bypass grafting.

Methods: In a simulation study, provider effects estimated using PS adjustment, PS weighting, PS matching, and multivariable logistic regression were compared in terms of bias, coverage and mean squared error (MSE) when varying the event rate, sample size, provider volumes, and number of providers. An empirical example from the field of cardiac surgery was used to demonstrate the different methods.

Results: Overall, PS adjustment, PS weighting, and logistic regression resulted in provider effects with low amounts of bias and good coverage. The PS matching and PS weighting with trimming led to biased effects and high MSE across several scenarios. Moreover, PS matching is not practical to implement when the number of providers surpasses three.

Conclusions: None of the PS methods clearly outperformed logistic regression, except when sample sizes were relatively small. Propensity score matching performed worse than the other PS methods considered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1178632918785133DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6069022PMC
July 2018

Outlier classification performance of risk adjustment methods when profiling multiple providers.

BMC Med Res Methodol 2018 06 15;18(1):54. Epub 2018 Jun 15.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary CareUniversity Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 85500, Utrecht, 3508 GA, the Netherlands.

Background: When profiling multiple health care providers, adjustment for case-mix is essential to accurately classify the quality of providers. Unfortunately, misclassification of provider performance is not uncommon and can have grave implications. Propensity score (PS) methods have been proposed as viable alternatives to conventional multivariable regression. The objective was to assess the outlier classification performance of risk adjustment methods when profiling multiple providers.

Methods: In a simulation study based on empirical data, the classification performance of logistic regression (fixed and random effects), PS adjustment, and three PS weighting methods was evaluated when varying parameters such as the number of providers, the average incidence of the outcome, and the percentage of outliers. Traditional classification accuracy measures were considered, including sensitivity and specificity.

Results: Fixed effects logistic regression consistently had the highest sensitivity and negative predictive value, yet a low specificity and positive predictive value. Of the random effects methods, PS adjustment and random effects logistic regression performed equally well or better than all the remaining PS methods for all classification accuracy measures across the studied scenarios.

Conclusions: Of the evaluated PS methods, only PS adjustment can be considered a viable alternative to random effects logistic regression when profiling multiple providers in different scenarios.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12874-018-0510-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6003201PMC
June 2018

Measurement error is often neglected in medical literature: a systematic review.

J Clin Epidemiol 2018 06 6;98:89-97. Epub 2018 Mar 6.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, PO Box 85500, 3508 Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Objectives: In medical research, covariates (e.g., exposure and confounder variables) are often measured with error. While it is well accepted that this introduces bias and imprecision in exposure-outcome relations, it is unclear to what extent such issues are currently considered in research practice. The objective was to study common practices regarding covariate measurement error via a systematic review of general medicine and epidemiology literature.

Study Design And Setting: Original research published in 2016 in 12 high impact journals was full-text searched for phrases relating to measurement error. Reporting of measurement error and methods to investigate or correct for it were quantified and characterized.

Results: Two hundred and forty-seven (44%) of the 565 original research publications reported on the presence of measurement error. 83% of these 247 did so with respect to the exposure and/or confounder variables. Only 18 publications (7% of 247) used methods to investigate or correct for measurement error.

Conclusions: Consequently, it is difficult for readers to judge the robustness of presented results to the existence of measurement error in the majority of publications in high impact journals. Our systematic review highlights the need for increased awareness about the possible impact of covariate measurement error. Additionally, guidance on the use of measurement error correction methods is necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2018.02.023DOI Listing
June 2018

Random measurement error: Why worry? An example of cardiovascular risk factors.

PLoS One 2018 9;13(2):e0192298. Epub 2018 Feb 9.

Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

With the increased use of data not originally recorded for research, such as routine care data (or 'big data'), measurement error is bound to become an increasingly relevant problem in medical research. A common view among medical researchers on the influence of random measurement error (i.e. classical measurement error) is that its presence leads to some degree of systematic underestimation of studied exposure-outcome relations (i.e. attenuation of the effect estimate). For the common situation where the analysis involves at least one exposure and one confounder, we demonstrate that the direction of effect of random measurement error on the estimated exposure-outcome relations can be difficult to anticipate. Using three example studies on cardiovascular risk factors, we illustrate that random measurement error in the exposure and/or confounder can lead to underestimation as well as overestimation of exposure-outcome relations. We therefore advise medical researchers to refrain from making claims about the direction of effect of measurement error in their manuscripts, unless the appropriate inferential tools are used to study or alleviate the impact of measurement error from the analysis.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0192298PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5806872PMC
April 2018
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