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J Comp Eff Res. 2014 Jan;3(1):63-78. doi: 10.2217/cer.13.89. Epub 2013 Nov 22.

Applications of propensity score methods in observational comparative effectiveness and safety research: where have we come and where should we go?

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Mayo Clinic Medical School & the Division of Health Care Policy & Research, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Propensity score (PS) methods have proliferated in recent years in observational studies in general and in observational comparative effectiveness research (CER) in particular. PS methods are an important set of tools for estimating treatment effects in observational studies, enabling adjustment for measured confounders in an easy-to-understand and transparent way. This article demonstrates how PS methods have been used to address specific CER questions from 2001 through to 2012 by identifying six impactful studies from this period. This article also discusses areas for improvement, including data infrastructure, and a unified set of guidelines in terms of PS implementation and reporting, which will boost confidence in evidence generated through observational CER using PS methods.

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