HEDS is part of the School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) at the University of Sheffield. We undertake research, teaching, training and consultancy on all aspects of health related decision science, with a particular emphasis on health economics, HTA and evidence synthesis.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Dr Kate Ren to deliver talk at the Promoting Statistical Insight (PSI) Conference - 'Breaking Boundaries in Drug Development'

Image of Dr Kate Ren
Dr Kate Ren
Dr Kate Ren is to deliver talk at the Promoting Statistical Insight (PSI) Conference - Breaking Boundaries in Drug Development in Damrak, Amsterdam. Dr Ren's talk is titled: Evidence synthesis with limited studies: incorporating genuine prior information about between-study heterogeneity

Background: Meta-analyses using fixed effect and random effects models are commonly applied to synthesise evidence from randomised controlled trials in health technology assessment. The models differ in their assumptions and the interpretation of the results. Fixed effect models are often used because there are too few studies with which to estimate the between-study standard deviation from the data alone, but not that heterogeneity is unlikely to be expected.

Objectives: The aim is to propose a framework for eliciting an informative prior distribution for the between-study standard deviation in a Bayesian random effects meta-analysis model to genuinely represent heterogeneity when data are sparse.

Methods: We developed an elicitation method using external information such as empirical evidence and experts’ beliefs on the ‘range’ of treatment effects in order to infer the prior distribution for the between-study standard deviation. We also developed the method to be implemented in R.

Results: The three-stage elicitation approach allows uncertainty to be represented by a genuine prior distribution to avoid making misleading inferences. It is flexible to what judgments an expert can provide, and is applicable to all common types of outcome measure.

Conclusions: The choice between using a fixed effect or random effects meta-analysis model depends on the inferences required and not on the number of available studies. Our elicitation framework captures external evidence about heterogeneity and overcomes the often implausible assumption that studies are estimating the same treatment effect, thereby improving the quality of inferences in decision making. 

The conference is between 3-6 June and registration is now open. To register please click here

Sessions will include data transparency, the Asterix project in rare diseases, application and implementation of methodologies in statistics, missing data, study design role play, regulatory town hall and many more, with speakers from industry, academia and regulatory agencies. View the online draft scientific programme here.