3-1 Do the outcomes measured matter to you?

A fair comparison may not include all outcomes that are relevant to treatments. Patients, professionals and researchers may have different views about which outcomes are important. For example, studies often measure outcomes, such as heart rhythm irregularities, as surrogates for important outcomes, like death after heart attack. However, the effects of treatments on surrogate outcomes often do not provide a reliable indication of the effects on outcomes that are important.

Always consider the possibility that outcomes that are important to you may not have been addressed in fair comparisons. Do not be misled by surrogate outcomes.

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Know Your Chances

This book has been shown in two randomized trials to improve peoples' understanding of risk in the context of health care choices.

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Composite Outcomes

Fair comparisons of treatments should measure important outcomes and avoid dependence on surrogate outcome measures.

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Does it work?

People with vested interests may use misleading statistics to support claims about the efects of new treatments.

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A key partnership

‘People-focused research in the NHS simply cannot be delivered without the involvement of patients and the public. No matter how […]

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When practitioners disagree

In this sub-section Introduction (this page) Caffeine for breathing problems in premature babies Antibiotics in pre-term labour Breast cancer Introduction […]

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Herceptin

Commercial companies are not alone in trumpeting the advantages of new treatments while down-playing drawbacks. Professional hype and enthusiastic media […]

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