Welcome to the Section for Clinical Biometrics

Clinical Biometrics is the methodology of empirical clinical research.

The section, founded in 1991, provides biostatistical support to clinical research and develops innovative methodology for biostatistical applications.
Biostatistical consultation for clinical projects is available by appointment during regular business hours.

Current lectures of the section are announced by the Wiener Biometrische Sektion.


COVID-19: Potentially flawed models may lead to inappropriate decisions

In an international collaboration, Christine Wallisch, Maria Haller and Georg Heinze from the Institute of Clinical Biometrics reviewed the evidence about prediction models used in COVID-19 for diagnosis and prognosis. They found high risk of bias in 27 out of 27 published studies. This alarming result may lead to wrong diagnosis of COVID-19 and inappropriate predictions for patients with COVID-19. The study was initiated by researchers at the Universities of Maastricht and Utrecht and involved prognosis researchers from the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom and Austria. The study was published on April 7, 2020 in BMJ. The review is a ‘living review’ and will be periodically updated.

Wynants L, van Calster B, Bonten MMJ, Collins GS, Debray TPA, de Vos M, Haller MC, Heinze G, Moons KGM, Riley RD, Schuit E, Smits LJM, Snell KIE, Steyerberg EW, Wallisch C, van Smeden M. Prediction models for diagnosis and prognosis of covid-19 infection: systematic review and critical appraisal. BMJ 2020; 369:m1328. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m1328


Generics are cheaper than branded drugs, but are they equally effective?

Generic medications offer substantial potential cost savings to health systems compared to their branded counterparts. But do they also provide equal effectiveness? Georg Heinze collaborated with Yuxi Tian from the University of California Los Angeles and other colleagues to perform an observational retrospective study on 17 branded vs. generic pharmaceutical substances for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes mellitus in a dataset of 9,413,620 insured persons, representing nearly the full population of Austria. The analysis emulated randomized clinical trials by making use of state-of-the-art methodology for causal inference. Results for individual substances were meta-analyzed to summarize effects per indication (hypertension or heart failure, hyperlipidemia, diabetes mellitus). The large sample size permitted accurate conclusions. Generic medications were at least similar, and in some cases superior, to their branded counterparts regarding mortality and major cardiovascular events. The full text is freely available at: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-62318-y

Tian Y, Reichardt B, Dunkler D, Hronsky M, Winkelmayer WC, Bucsics A, Strohmaier S, Heinze G. Comparative effectiveness of branded vs. generic versions of antihypertensive, lipid-lowering and hypoglycemic substances: a population-wide cohort study. Scientific Reports (2020) 10:5964 (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62318-y).