Observational studies: answering real-life questions about healthcare practice

By Ruth Whittington ([email protected]) Part 2 – How do observational studies and randomised controlled trials differ? Last month, I described observational studies and where they fit into the hierarchy of evidence. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) provide some of the fundamental answers to important questions about a drug’s efficacy and safety, and so are considered top…

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Industry commentary – Predictors of productivity

By Clare Gurton ([email protected]) There is increasing pressure to describe the benefits of new treatments in terms of increased productivity in the work-place, and many clinical studies are now attempting to include some measurement of improved productivity as a secondary endpoint. Whilst many trials have indeed shown that effective medical intervention can decrease illness-associated loss…

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In praise of eloquence

When the body of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is brought before the Romans, does the bard have them say “Whodunnit?” No, he has Mark Antony deliver the eloquent “Friends, Romans, Countrymen” speech. And the Roman poet Horace showed his lyrical skill with: “Pick today’s fruits, not relying on the future in the slightest.” Carpe diem. He did not, you will note, say “Have a nice day.”

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Risk/benefit decisions – who should be involved, and are there valid measurement methods?

By Clare Gurton ([email protected]) Here we summarise a recent article from ISPOR Connections 2006; December 15: 3–5 Patients are generally not included in decision-making yet they are the group to whom the benefits and risk of treatment apply. Treatment decision-making policy and treatment guidelines are led by objective evidence of benefit, that outweighs any risks,…

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