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A robust interrupted time series model for analyzing complex health care intervention data.

Stat Med; 2017 Aug 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28850683


Current health policy calls for greater use of evidence-based care delivery services to improve patient quality and safety outcomes. Care delivery is complex, with interacting and interdependent components that challenge traditional statistical analytic techniques, in particular, when modeling a time series of outcomes data that might be "interrupted" by a change in a particular method of health care delivery. Interrupted time series (ITS) is a robust quasi-experimental design with the ability to infer the effectiveness of an intervention that accounts for data dependency. Current standardized methods for analyzing ITS data do not model changes in variation and correlation following the intervention. This is a key limitation since it is plausible for data variability and dependency to change because of the intervention. Moreover, present methodology either assumes a prespecified interruption time point with an instantaneous effect or removes data for which the effect of intervention is not fully realized. In this paper, we describe and develop a novel robust interrupted time series (robust-ITS) model that overcomes these omissions and limitations. The robust-ITS model formally performs inference on (1) identifying the change point; (2) differences in preintervention and postintervention correlation; (3) differences in the outcome variance preintervention and postintervention; and (4) differences in the mean preintervention and postintervention. We illustrate the proposed method by analyzing patient satisfaction data from a hospital that implemented and evaluated a new nursing care delivery model as the intervention of interest. The robust-ITS model is implemented in an R Shiny toolbox, which is freely available to the community.