Incorporating pragmatic features into power analysis for cluster randomized trials with a count outcome

Dateng Li, Song Zhang, Jing Cao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Cluster randomized designs are frequently employed in pragmatic clinical trials which test interventions in the full spectrum of everyday clinical settings in order to maximize applicability and generalizability. In this study, we propose to directly incorporate pragmatic features into power analysis for cluster randomized trials with count outcomes. The pragmatic features considered include arbitrary randomization ratio, overdispersion, random variability in cluster size, and unequal lengths of follow-up over which the count outcome is measured. The proposed method is developed based on generalized estimating equation (GEE) and it is advantageous in that the sample size formula retains a closed form, facilitating its implementation in pragmatic trials. We theoretically explore the impact of various pragmatic features on sample size requirements. An efficient Jackknife algorithm is presented to address the problem of underestimated variance by the GEE sandwich estimator when the number of clusters is small. We assess the performance of the proposed sample size method through extensive simulation and an application example to a real clinical trial is presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalStatistics in Medicine
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Keywords

  • clustered randomization trials
  • count outcome
  • pragmatic
  • random cluster sizes
  • unequal follow-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Statistics and Probability

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