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Stat Med. 2004 Feb 15;23(3):389-410.

Bayesian methods for analysis of binary outcome data in cluster randomized trials on the absolute risk scale.

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MRC Biostatistics Unit, Institute of Public Health, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 2SR, U.K.


A Bayesian hierarchical modelling approach to the analysis of cluster randomized trials has advantages in terms of allowing for full parameter uncertainty, flexible modelling of covariates and variance structure, and use of prior information. Previously, such modelling of binary outcome data required use of a log-odds ratio scale for the treatment effect estimate and an approximation linking the intracluster correlation (ICC) to the between-cluster variance on a log-odds scale. In this paper we develop this method to allow estimation on the absolute risk scale, which facilitates clinical interpretation of both the treatment effect and the between-cluster variance. We describe a range of models and apply them to data from a trial of different interventions to promote secondary prevention of coronary heart disease in primary care. We demonstrate how these models can be used to incorporate prior data about typical ICCs, to derive a posterior distribution for the number needed to treat, and to consider both cluster and individual level covariates. Using these methods, we can benefit from the advantages of Bayesian modelling of binary outcome data at the same time as providing results on a clinically interpretable scale.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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