MSc Evidence Based Healthcare (Medical Statistics)

Arvind Sami, University of Oxford

I chose to do an MSc in evidencebased healthcare with statistical methods. The course will equip me with the skills to use large databases, in addition, how to plan and generate my evidence. Using large databases such as CPRD is necessary as patients used in trial data do not resemble those seen in clinical practice. I will also need to build my evidence base, as research into pharmacy interventions in osteoporosis is lacking. Using introduction to study design, in addition to complex reviews and meta-analysis, I will be able to analyse the true effect of pharmacist interventions.  

Each module runs over an eightweek course. The first week is spent on introductory activities in and the second week is spent with face to face learning. In the following four weeks, there is one activity to complete each week. These are designed to help you complete an assignment 

Essential Medical Statistics – Compulsory 

  • Hypothesis tests 
  • Association between variables  
  • Multiple logistic regression  
  • Survival analysis  

Statistics for Clinical Trials – Compulsory 

  • Components involved in the planning and conduct of clinical trials 
  • Different types of trial designs and be able to choose the relevant design for a given question. 
  • Carry out sample size calculation for, at least, two arms parallel superiority trials  
  • Ability to prepare a statistical analysis plan 
  • Statistical considerations when preparing a protocol or grant application. 

Meta-analysis – Option 

  • Plan, carry out and interpret meta-analysis of different study designs  
  • Extract data in different formats and deal with missing data 
  • Explore heterogeneity and appropriately use fixed and random effects, subgroup analysis, sensitivity analysis and meta-regression 

Big Data Epidemiology  – Option 

  • Examples of large routine healthcare databases in the UK that are available for epidemiological research. 
  • Understand the types of epidemiological questions and study designs  
  • Understand relevant methodological issues and possible solutions in routinely collected healthcare data, including: measurement error, missing data, addressing confounding, multiple testing and sample size calculations. 
  • Understand the strengths and weaknesses of routinely collected data and use this knowledge to interpret and critically appraise study findings. 
  • Gain the ability to plan a research protocol to answer questions in evidence based healthcare using routinely collected data 

Introduction to Study Design and Research Methods – Option 

  • Describe in detail different types of research methodologies; 
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the different study designs; 
  • Discuss why various approaches may be appropriate/ inappropriate for their work-based research question. 

Complex Reviews – Option 

  • Recognise the need for the broader forms of evidence synthesis in healthcare 
  • Develop the  skills needed to develop more advanced search strategies 
  • Understand  the methods needed to conduct diagnostic test accuracy reviews 
  • Recognise the need and value of individual participant data (IPD) meta-analysis 
  • Be familiar with clinical study reports, regulatory data  and the challenges of conducting reviews of such data 
  • Understand the methods involved with conducting reviews of non-randomised data 
  • Become familiar with qualitative and mixed methods reviews 
  • Explore further emerging forms of evidence synthesis 

The final report is available to view here.