Biostatisticians have become increasingly important as many data-driven public health projects and clinical trials have expanded. So, what exactly does a biostatistician do?
These individuals are statistics experts who specialize in analyzing biological data. They use statistical techniques to analyze clinical and health related data to make statistical claims regarding the safety and effectiveness of various drugs, devices, and therapies. Whether your research interests are in Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR), public health, or patient care, there are several benefits to working with a biostatistician, including the following seven:
1. Improved Research Methodology
One of the most important considerations when producing high-quality research is ensuring the analytical methods are sound. A well-designed study with robust analyses instill confidence in the reader that the claims being made from the research are correct; conversely, a study with weak or poorly described analytical methods may have convincing outcomes, but will fall apart under scrutiny.
A clinical trial’s subsequent stages (data collection, statistical analysis, and publication) are built on a solid methodological foundation. Involving biostatisticians in the earliest study design phases to work with the research team can prevent methodological errors in the long run. This is true for almost any kind of clinical trial, as well as other projects involving quality improvement and public health.
2. Trustworthy Conclusions
When biostatisticians are involved in rigorous study design, data collection, analysis and evaluation, the conclusions carry more weight. Incorporating biostatistics into clinical study design and research increases the likelihood that the study will achieve an acceptable level of statistical power: an estimate of the probability that the study will find an effect in a sample if it exists in the real population.
This includes, for example, considering sample size, and statistical significance. Biostatisticians are experts in considering these factors before a trial is initiated to ensure that the effect being measured will reflect a conclusion that contributes meaningfully to the existing literature.
3. Relevance to Public Health
Biostatistics involves using a statistical methodology to find answers to questions that involve the life sciences. One of the primary real-world applications is using healthcare data to learn more about public health; for example, how likely a person is to experience specific symptoms if they contract a particular disease.
These kinds of analyses are especially crucial amid a global pandemic, given the potential repercussions of community spread (hospital capacity, number of elderly patients in a community, economic considerations, etc.). Biostatisticians, therefore, can have profound impacts on public health.
4. Refined Research Questions
Sometimes, the effect of high-quality statistical analyses is realizing you’re chasing the wrong questions. Carrying out a rigorous data monitoring and management plan, as well as conducting routine, high-quality data analyses can lead to answers outside the scope of your current trial.
This kind of question editing (narrowing or expanding questions to suit a research project) is critical to ensuring that the study results are relevant to the real world. Biostatistics is extremely helpful in quickly identifying questions and datasets that will be conducive to a meaningful trial.
5. Clinical Data Management
Today, one of the problems facing data scientists and research teams is the tension between the wealth of data available for analysis and the capacity to do something meaningful and productive with the data.
For example, there is more genetic data available now than ever before; however, it takes strong statistical skill to use refined research questions and analysis to use this data in a constructive way that contributes to clinical practice. Given these new trends, it is helpful to have the biostatistician work closely with clinical data management.
Clinical research can be obtuse and challenging to interpret – even for clinicians who use this research in practice. Often, clinicians are leading a research project that needs help translating data into simple, clinical language. Biostatisticians are uniquely good at helping to bridge this gap.
7. Support and Rapport
There is a reason that highly collaborative teams usually perform successful clinical trials. One of the primary benefits of working closely with a biostatistician in research design and analysis is having consistent, dedicated support throughout the research process. This means you’ll have a resource to consult with on any aspect of the research process, including study design and methods, data collection, analysis, and presentation of data.
Biostatistics Services from ProPharma Group
ProPharma Group is a leader in clinical research solutions, with services that include biostatistics. Contact us to find out how ProPharma Group can help you ensure that your statistical analysis is not only valid and complete but supported by the data and presented in a way that is easy to understand. Improve your data collection and analysis with support from the experts at ProPharma Group.
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