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BMJ Open. 2013 Aug 23;3(8):e003220. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003220.

Development and application of a novel metric to assess effectiveness of biomedical data.

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Department of Biomedical Informatics, H Lee Moffitt Cancer and Research Institute, Tampa, Florida, USA.

Erratum in

  • BMJ Open. 2013;3(9):e003220corr1. Hang, Gang [corrected to Han, Gang].



Design a metric to assess the comparative effectiveness of biomedical data elements within a study that incorporates their statistical relatedness to a given outcome variable as well as a measurement of the quality of their underlying data.


The cohort consisted of 874 patients with adenocarcinoma of the lung, each with 47 clinical data elements. The p value for each element was calculated using the Cox proportional hazard univariable regression model with overall survival as the endpoint. An attribute or A-score was calculated by quantification of an element's four quality attributes; Completeness, Comprehensiveness, Consistency and Overall-cost. An effectiveness or E-score was obtained by calculating the conditional probabilities of the p-value and A-score within the given data set with their product equaling the effectiveness score (E-score).


The E-score metric provided information about the utility of an element beyond an outcome-related p value ranking. E-scores for elements age-at-diagnosis, gender and tobacco-use showed utility above what their respective p values alone would indicate due to their relative ease of acquisition, that is, higher A-scores. Conversely, elements surgery-site, histologic-type and pathological-TNM stage were down-ranked in comparison to their p values based on lower A-scores caused by significantly higher acquisition costs.


A novel metric termed E-score was developed which incorporates standard statistics with data quality metrics and was tested on elements from a large lung cohort. Results show that an element's underlying data quality is an important consideration in addition to p value correlation to outcome when determining the element's clinical or research utility in a study.


Epidemiology; Oncology

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