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Multicenter Collaboration in Observational Research: Improving Generalizability and Efficiency

Sprague, Sheila MSc1; Matta, Joel M. MD2; Bhandari, Mohit MD, MSc, FRCSC,1; on Behalf of the Anterior Total Hip Arthroplasty Collaborative (ATHAC) Investigators*

doi: 10.2106/JBJS.H.01623
Design, Conduct, and Interpretation of Nonrandomized Orthopaedic Studies--A Practical Approach

Utilizing a multicenter approach in observational clinical research allows for improved generalizability of the results, a larger sample size, and, consequently, improved efficiency. This paper highlights important issues with regard to the organization of multicenter observational studies in orthopaedic research. Specifically, we emphasize the development of trial committees, stress the importance of having a methods center for the purpose of coordinating day-to-day study activities, and describe the roles of the participating clinical sites. The successful conduct of multicenter studies requires careful study organization, a dedicated and experienced methods center, and motivated participating surgeons and study staff at the clinical sites. To illustrate the organization of a multicenter initiative, we use the example of a total hip arthroplasty collaborative.

1Departments of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics (S.S. and M.B.) and Surgery (M.B.), McMaster University, 293 Wellington Street North, Suite 110, Hamilton, ON L8L 8E7, Canada. E-mail address for M. Bhandari:

2Hip and Pelvis Institute, Saint John's Health Center, Orthopedic Center, 2001 Santa Monica Boulevard #1090, Santa Monica, CA 90404

Copyright © 2009 by The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
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