Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, University of Toronto, 155 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M6, Canada; Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 155 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M7, Canada; Division of Rheumatology, Department of Paediatrics, The Hospital for Sick Children, 555 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8, Canada.
A challenge to the use of observational data to study treatment effects is the issue of confounding. Noncomparability of exposed and nonexposed subjects can lead to biased estimation of the treatment effect. The propensity score is a balancing score that can be used to form matched groups, or pairs, that are not systematically different and enable nonbiased comparisons between groups. This article reviews propensity score methods with an illustrative example of the application of propensity score matching in an observational study of an uncommon disease (systemic sclerosis).
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