Rovers , Maroeska

A ZonMw TOP subsidy has been awarded to Maroeska Rovers (Health Evidence and Operating rooms) and Joanna in 't Hout (Health Evidence) for the project entitled 'Promoting tailored health care: improving methods to investigate subgroup effects in treatment response when having multiple individual participant datasets'. The project is a collaboration with Dr Hans Reitsma of the Julius Center at the University Medical Center in Utrecht.

Individuals differ in their response to treatment. Personalized patient-centered healthcare involves tailoring therapeutic decisions to individuals based on patient and disease characteristics.The current widespread initiatives for sharing individual participant data (IPD) will create unique opportunities to investigate whether subgroups differ in their response to treatments. Benefits of using IPD rather than traditional meta-analysis arise from standardization of subgroups and outcomes across studies, the higher validity of subgroup findings through proper adjustment for differences in patient and study characteristics, and the increased possibilities to search for subgroups based on multiple characteristics.

The aims of the granted proposal are to evaluate and improve prevailing approaches, and to develop novel methods where needed, for investigating and interpreting subgroup effects in treatment response when multiple IPD sets are available. It should lead to more credible evidence about whether a relevant subgroup effect exists.

The TOP proposal will provide an integrated framework with corresponding guidance on how to perform, report and judge IPD meta-analyses investigating subgroup effects. The novel framework will be comprehensive and context-specific in order to address subgroup effects across the whole range of increasing complexity of subgroups and variation in underlying data. If performed appropriately, IPD meta-analyses will promote tailored healthcare for all types of interventions and across all medical fields. The proposal will lead to better use of data from existing and future studies to the benefit of individual patients and healthcare in general.

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