RESEARCH RESOURCE. The Health Metrics Unit runs Akademistatistik that can help all researchers in Sahlgrenska Academy and Region Västra Götaland to plan, execute and handle studies that contain data that requires statistical analysis. The first four hours are free of charge, thanks to funding by ALF funding. Akademiliv was there when PhD student Stefan Lundqvist had his fourth meeting with Statistician Sara Gustavsson.
Stefan is at the end-phase of his first article, a study that encompasses over 400 patients from 15 healthcare centers. The patients in the study received treatment as a prescribed physical activity (FaR) from their healthcare center where, among other things, a group was randomly selected to receive extra FaR support from a physiotherapist.
“Help from Akademistatistik means a lot. I have been able to increase my understanding of statistical calculations and get a better understanding of the analysis process,” says Stefan, who expects to be done with his first article this summer.
The study includes multiple measurement variables, which create complicated calculations. He contacted Akademistatistik late last fall:
“Contact was easy and I received an answer within a week. We exchanged a few documents by email and then have met a few times since Christmas.”
As a physiotherapist, Stefan works with development in the FaR team in central and western Gothenburg. In the article he is currently working on, he is investigating if there is any change in the level of physical activity in patients that receive FaR treatment and if that change is linked to changes in metabolic health and quality of life.
“Preliminarily, is seems that we will can cash in on a lot of health benefits, through increased physical activity, reduced metabolic risk factors and improved health related quality of life. It feels great that the results seem to be so good after only six months,” says Stefan, whose thesis is supervised by Åsa Cider, Maria Larsson, Mats Börjesson and Lars Hagberg.
Statistician Sara Gustavsson is helping Stefan understand how his research data can provide answers on changes and connections. Together, they are planning, such things as, a setup for regression analyses, where multiple variables are combined into a function that best fits the observed data. They also discuss something called intention to treat, which is a statistical concept that is based on the treatment that is initially planned for the researched person and which ignores protocol deviations, withdrawals and other things that can occur after randomization.
Four free consultation hours
All researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy and Region Västra Götaland are entitled to four free consultation hours from Akademistatistik. The researchers’ needs and study conditions vary greatly. Some want help ensuring that the analyses they did themselves are correct and others want consultants at Akademistatistik to conduct the analyses for them.
“It is hard to know how long an assignment takes before we have met and discussed the problem. Sometimes the analyses are more comprehensive, and often we first have to prepare the data, which can be extremely time consuming,” says Sara.
Many of Akademistatistik’s assignments fit into the four hours financed by ALF funding, but there is no problem establishing more long-term collaboration.
“If you are considering a longer collaboration, then we appreciate your contacting us early on, during the prestudy. Then you can be assured that the data you collect can provide answers to the questions you have,” says Sara, who notes that it is not uncommon for researchers to need to modify their original questions afterwards so that the data can give the desired answer.
Different application periods create increased pressure on Akademistatistik and can result in researchers having to wait several weeks before they can have access to a statistician.
Find out more about the Health Metrics Unit and what they offer within the framework of Akademistatistik at: www.healthmetrics.gu.se
Akademistatistik is a part of the Health Metrics Unit at Sahlgrenska Academy that coordinates education and research in health science statistics and applied health economics. The unit is responsible for a number of courses in applied statistics and health economics at the undergraduate level as well as is responsible for a number of methodology courses in doctoral studies at Sahlgrenska Academy and the University of Gothenburg.