Handling missing data in modelling quality of clinician-prescribed routine care: Sensitivity analysis of departure from missing at random assumption.
Gachau S., Quartagno M., Njagi EN., Owuor N., English M., Ayieko P.
Missing information is a major drawback in analyzing data collected in many routine health care settings. Multiple imputation assuming a missing at random mechanism is a popular method to handle missing data. The missing at random assumption cannot be confirmed from the observed data alone, hence the need for sensitivity analysis to assess robustness of inference. However, sensitivity analysis is rarely conducted and reported in practice. We analyzed routine paediatric data collected during a cluster randomized trial conducted in Kenyan hospitals. We imputed missing patient and clinician-level variables assuming the missing at random mechanism. We also imputed missing clinician-level variables assuming a missing not at random mechanism. We incorporated opinions from 15 clinical experts in the form of prior distributions and shift parameters in the delta adjustment method. An interaction between trial intervention arm and follow-up time, hospital, clinician and patient-level factors were included in a proportional odds random-effects analysis model. We performed these analyses using R functions derived from the jomo package. Parameter estimates from multiple imputation under the missing at random mechanism were similar to multiple imputation estimates assuming the missing not at random mechanism. Our inferences were insensitive to departures from the missing at random assumption using either the prior distributions or shift parameters sensitivity analysis approach.