Researchers in The Ohio State University College of Public Health and the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital were recently awarded a grant for nearly $1 million from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The grant will be used to develop a systematic and statistically valid approach for more accurate interpretation of complex health care survey data, filling a critical gap in health care policy and patient outcomes research.
“Health survey data are commonly used for comparing treatment effects, however, current approaches often ignore the important statistical criteria of sampling and weighting, so findings are really not generalizable to the overall patient population” says Dr. Huiyun Xiang, director, Center for Pediatric Trauma Research and co-principal investigator of the project. Dr. Xiang is also a professor of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and a principal investigator and the Director of Research Core in the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. He has a joint appointment at The Ohio State University College of Public Health.
This research project will be co-directed by Dr. Xiang and Dr. Bo Lu, associate professor at the Ohio State University College of Public Health, principal investigator for the grant and an affiliate faculty member in the Center for Pediatric Trauma Research at Nationwide Children’s. Dr. Xiang and Dr. Lu have been collaborating on trauma/injury research since 2008. This long-term NCH-CPH collaborative research effort has resulted in numerous high profile research publications, several federal-funded research grants, and joint mentoring of post-doc and graduate students.
“Many researchers in health sciences who use survey data to draw causal treatment effect conclusions often ignore or use ad-hoc adjustments of survey weights in propensity score analyses without rigorous justification,” says Dr. Lu. “This practice presents serious problems, because it may give rise to sample selection bias when treatment effects differ across subgroups of the patient population.”
An expected significant contribution of the project is the development of a new statistical methodology that will be beneficial and applicable to researchers in the health sciences and other health care fields, as well as government agencies and policy makers.
The Center for Pediatric Trauma Research (CPTR) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital conducts research to support global efforts in achieving the best outcomes for pediatric trauma patients. Using a multidisciplinary approach, CPTR researchers lead innovative projects to assess pre-hospital emergency medical service, acute medical and surgical management, rehabilitation, and family and community services that impact the short and long-term outcomes of injured patients. CPTR serves as a leader and a partner to translate cutting edge research findings to help patients, families, policy makers, and clinicians make informed decisions.