"Biostatistician Role in Data Management"
Position Description Biostatistician Monitoring Evaluation and Research Unit June 2007 Position Description POSITION DETAILS Position Title: Biostatistician Division: Population Health and Registries Reports To: Senior Biostatistician Monitoring, Evaluation and Research (MERU) Location: Australian Technology Park, Sydney Date: June 2007 Main Purpose Of Position The Biostatistician MERU, provides timely, expert statistical input into the monitoring evaluation and research activities of the Cancer Institute (NSW). The position produces descriptive epidemiological statistical reports, responds to ad hoc data requests and maintains population and other code sets. The position will also be required to undertake, or provide advice on more complex analyses for special projects, research initiatives or specialist reports. Key Roles And Responsibilities Undertake timely, expert analysis interpretation and dissemination of data from the CI NSW databases to support the Institute’s programs, research activities and reporting obligations. Work collaboratively with MERU staff, Cancer Institute Divisions and the Senior Epidemiologist to develop and prepare statistical and epidemiological reports, and analyse and report on information from Cancer Institute NSW databases Provide timely replies to requests for data (eg. analyses requests from organisations/individuals authorised to access CCR database) and provides timely, accurate statistical and epidemiological advice to assist with cancer research and related activities. In collaboration with MERU staff and staff from other Divisions plan and undertake complex statistical and related research activities to assist with meeting key strategic objectives in respect to the control of cancer. Provide timely, expert, professional statistical advice and guidance for research projects undertaken by the Cancer Institute (NSW) as required. Provide statistical and epidemiological advice to staff across the Institute as part of a statistical consultancy service Provide statistical and epidemiological advice to external researchers and other key stakeholders regarding use and interpretation of Cancer Institute data for research projects, service planning and program evaluation Provide mentoring support and supervision on a day to day basis to Trainee Biostatisticians, and other health professionals within the Unit and Institute as part of their ongoing professional development. Work collaboratively with Central Cancer Registry staff, the Senior Biostatistician, MERU, program managers, project officers and other staff across the Cancer Institute 2 Position Description (NSW) regarding analyses and evaluation of data from diverse sources and the preparation of papers and reports for scientific publication or presentation.. Develop and enhance computer programs for routine analysis of data, data quality checking processes and data cleaning procedures, and provide unit record data sets to institutional users and international and national bodies with which the CI NSW has funding and performance agreements. Obtain and maintain population data sets required for calculation of rates. Obtain and maintain local government area populations, SEIFA indexes, ARIA and National Locality and country of birth groupings. Monitor research in relevant statistical methodology and seek ways of implementing new techniques to enhance the monitoring evaluation and research activities of the Cancer Institute and external stakeholders and researchers Identify and specify changes and improvements to systems that will enhance CI NSW databases. Ensure data analyses undertaken complies with NSW legislation on privacy and confidentiality, including the Health Records Information Privacy Act 1998 and the NSW Health Electronic Security Policy (PD 2005_ 314); Undertake matching of external datasets with the CI NSW databases as required. Support implementation of Equal Employment Opportunity and OH&S policies and procedures, Ethnic Affairs Priorities, and other ethical practices and policies of the Institute. Local Background And Environment The Cancer Institute (NSW) was established in 2003 to improve the effectiveness of the fight against cancer in NSW, by; Increasing the cancer survival rate Reducing the incidence of cancer Improving quality of life for patients & carers; and Acting as a source of expertise on cancer control. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in NSW. The incidence of cancer has risen by around 44% in the past 30 years and is expected to continue rising due to factors such as population growth and ageing. The cost of cancer to the NSW community is extremely high. NSW spends around $600 million each year on the prevention, management and treatment of cancer. Management of cancer-related illness is estimated to account for some 10% of acute hospital admissions and impacts considerably on outpatient services (particularly radiotherapy and chemotherapy) and other community-based services. The social cost in terms of loss of productivity, death, stress on carers and families is immeasurable. Improved Cancer management has been identified at State and National levels as a key priority for the health system. 3 Position Description The Institute, established through the Cancer Institute (NSW) Act 2003, is directly accountable to Parliament. The Institute is administered by a board, which includes the Chief Cancer Officer and the Board is in turn supported by expert advisory committees. The board is responsible for setting the Institute’ s overall policy direction in line with its statutory objectives, and determining priorities for cancer control so that resource allocation is well targeted. The NSW Central Cancer Registry is the agency established under the Public Health Act, to receive notification of cancer in New South Wales The Cancer Registry maintains a Register of all cases of cancer diagnosed in NSW since the beginning of 1972. The specific aims of the NSW Central Cancer Registry are: to maintain a cancer data base of high quality and accessibility to produce regular reports on cancer incidence and mortality to utilise the data for epidemiological and clinical research to make the data available for use by health providers, planners and educators. Key Internal And External Relationships Regular contact with the Senior Biostatistician, and Manager Monitoring, Evaluation and Research, to consult, collaborate and report on statistical reports and projects Contact with other Monitoring Evaluation and Research staff, and the Senior Epidemiologist Participates in regular staff meetings. Frequent contact with research and program staff throughout the Institute, to provide data, collaborate on research and provide statistical and epidemiological advice Regular contact with senior staff of the Central Cancer Registry, to consult on data and system problems and enhancement. Regular contact with the NSW and ACT Departments of Health in relation to unit record data sets provided in accordance with funding and performance agreements. Regular contact with approved institutional users of CCR data and other external researchers regarding provision of de-identified unit record data sets and to assist them with analysis and interpretation of the data. Contact with external researchers nationally and internationally regarding research collaborations Contact as required with other bodies with which the CCR has an agreement, regarding provision of data. Contact as required with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and other major data sources to obtain population data sets for calculation of incidence rates. Challenges/Problem Solving Ensuring the quality and integrity of data from CI NSW databases, in particular Central Cancer Registry data, provided to a broad range of internal and external users, given the critical role the data may play in cancer research and in decision making for planning and delivery of cancer control programs and services. Priortising and managing data reporting and analyses, given the large volume of regular reporting commitments and ad hoc requests, some of great urgency and complexity. 4 Position Description Keeping abreast of developments in statistical methodology and evaluating the potential of these to enhance data reporting and analyses. Ensuring full compliance with statutory and Institute requirements regarding data management, including the Privacy and Public Health Act. Ensuring that computer programs and code sets are updated regularly. Decision Making The position holder is considered to have expert knowledge of statistical analysis. The biostatistician is individually accountable for advice on statistical analyses using cancer data. Decisions which can be made by the position holder include: Decisions relating to the updating of the data request base, for which the position is primarily responsible, to enable annual reporting to the Department of Health. Decisions regarding advice on interpretation and analysis of data from Cancer Institute NSW databases Organising own daily workload within Registry priorities The scoping, analysis and content of individual data requests The format and outline of biostatistician procedure manual and documentation of programs and procedures The format and outline of the biostatistician database The position holder consults with a supervisor on: The format and content of epidemiological reports Modifications or enhancement to the Web Based and SAS front end reporting modules Data requests that are unclear or large in scope. Collaboration on external projects. Modification of standard programs used in regular reports Decisions which are referred to a supervisor include: Approval to modify data dictionary items or cancer registry data items. Approval for access to CI NSW data bases and reporting programs for non CI NSW staff. Requests for data linkage to CI NSW data bases. Sign off of information or analyses prior to distribution. Skills, Knowledge And Experience Used Appropriate tertiary qualifications in statistics, biostatistics, health information, epidemiology, public health or in a related discipline, or demonstrated relevant equivalent industry experience and training. Demonstrated high level proficiency in SAS, or similar programming. Thorough knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistical techniques; Experience in the scoping and analysing data requests, and in the analysis of descriptive epidemiological data. 5 Position Description Knowledge of and experience in information systems design and management Sound oral and written communication and interpersonal skills and report writing and presentation skills. Sound organisational skills, the capacity to successfully complete several tasks concurrently, maintain attention to detail and meet deadlines. Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, or independently with minimal supervision. Commitment to comply with relevant confidentiality and privacy guidelines. Computer literacy and the capacity to use PC based software including matching software, and graphical reporting packages. Knowledge of medical terminologies including cancer epidemiology and aetiology and an understanding of International Disease Classification Systems Understanding of and commitment to the principles of EEO, OH&S, cultural diversity and ethical practice. Verification This section verifies that the position holder and supervisor have read the above position description and are satisfied that it accurately describes the position. POSITION HOLDER Signature..................................................................... Date....................................... SUPERVISOR Signature..................................................................... Date........................................ Note: Appointments to all Cancer Institute NSW positions (both full and part time) are offered on a fixed term basis for up to 2 years. Selection Criteria Appropriate tertiary qualifications in statistics, biostatistics, health information, epidemiology, public health or in a related discipline, or demonstrated relevant equivalent industry experience and training. Demonstrated high level proficiency in SAS, or similar programming. Thorough knowledge of epidemiology and biostatistical techniques; Experience in the scoping and analysing data requests, and in the analysis of descriptive epidemiological data. Knowledge of and experience in information systems design and management Sound oral and written communication and interpersonal skills and report writing and presentation skills. 6 Position Description Sound organisational skills, the capacity to successfully complete several tasks concurrently, maintain attention to detail and meet deadlines. Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively as part of a team, or independently with minimal supervision. Commitment to comply with relevant confidentiality and privacy guidelines. Computer literacy and the capacity to use PC based software including matching software, and graphical reporting packages. Knowledge of medical terminologies including cancer epidemiology and aetiology and an understanding of International Disease Classification Systems Understanding of and commitment to the principles of EEO, OH&S, cultural diversity and ethical practice. 7