Enhancing the QUAlity and Transparency Of health Research

Annual EQUATOR Lecture 2017: Patrick Bossuyt


Patrick Bossuyt

We were delighted to welcome Patrick Bossuyt, Professor at the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics at the Academic Medical Center University of Amsterdam, to deliver the 8th EQUATOR Annual Lecture.



The lecture was held on the evening of Monday 11 September during the 2017 International Peer Review Congress being held at the Swissotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA and Professor Bossuyt spoke about ‘What a reporting guideline can do: fifteen years of STARD – Standards for reporting diagnostic accuracy studies’.


Brief lecture outline

In 1999, the publication of a study that demonstrated the existence of design-related bias in diagnostic accuracy studies led to the initiation of the STARD project. Diagnostic accuracy studies evaluate the ability of an imaging test, a laboratory test, or one or more other medical tests to correctly identify patients with the targeted disease. The report of such a study typically include estimates of the test’s sensitivity and specificity.

Diagnostic accuracy studies can be designed with or without design deficiencies. Studies with deficiencies are at risk of producing biased estimates, typically leading to accuracy estimates that are too high. Unfortunately, these design features are not always included in the study report. Other clinical features that allow readers to appraise the findings such as the eligibility criteria, or the age and sex of the study participants are also often missing from reports.

The STARD reporting guideline was presented in 2003, to facilitate complete and transparent descriptions of diagnostic accuracy studies, and to improve the informativeness of study reports. The guideline was updated in 2015,

The lecture looked back at the dissemination and implementation of the STARD reporting guideline and explored this both in terms of improving completeness of reporting, which was the primary aim of STARD, and through other benefits, such as the gradual standardization of terminology, and the development of related initiatives.

A recording of the lecture is available on YouTube at: EQUATOR Annual Lecture 2017
Please scroll to 4:28 to to listen to the lecture.


Short Biography

Patrick M. Bossuyt is the professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Amsterdam and Head of the Division of Public Health and Clinical Methods in the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. He studies the effectiveness of clinical interventions and helps translating study results to recommendations for practice. Dr Bossuyt leads the Biomarker and Test Evaluation Research program in Amsterdam, which aims to appraise and develop methods for evaluating medical tests and biomarkers. He spearheaded the STARD initiative to improve the reporting of diagnostic accuracy studies. Dr Bossuyt chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Dutch Health Insurance Board, overseeing the national health care benefits package.


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