A day in the life of a PHASTAR statistician

A day in the life of a statistician at PHASTAR

As statisticians, we love a bit of variation! A day in the life of a statistician at PHASTAR is no exception - depending on the stage of assigned projects and the nature of the studies we’re involved with, we could be providing input to the design of a study, calculating sample sizes, writing statistical analysis plans (SAPs), writing ADaM specifications, programming datasets, TLFs or efficacy analyses, or, providing expert statistical advice to our clients.

At a more senior level, statisticians at PHASTAR may also have line management responsibilities and contribute to management initiatives. We may be involved with the project management of our studies, dealing with timelines, resource projections and interacting with clients.

The following provides a glimpse into my life as a statistician working at PHASTAR, in the form of a diary describing a typical day.

8.30am: Arrive at work. I settle into the office with a bacon roll and pour a coffee from the Nespresso machine.

9.00am-9.30am: Check emails and plan schedule for the week. I start the day by checking my emails and prioritising any urgent requests that have come through. I’ve had an email from a client to review the statistics section of a protocol by the end of the week, so I make time for this in my diary. There is a project deadline at the end of the week, so I need to prioritise my workload accordingly.

9.30am-10.00am: Client Call. I’m currently assigned to work on two projects and have a weekly client call to discuss timelines and potential risks to assigned projects. We also discuss statistical issues relating to the project: in this case, whether a change to the inclusion criteria in the protocol will have any impact on the efficacy analysis.

10.00am – 12.00pm: Senior Review. As my project deadline is looming, I have reserved time to perform a senior level statistical review of statistical outputs for the clinical trial delivery at the end of the week. This is to support a data monitoring committee who have a delivery of interim results focussing on the safety aspects of the project. Following our internal SOPs, I review the outputs for consistency and accuracy with the SAP and by performing sense checks on the outputs. I also perform cross-checks for internal consistency between outputs, such as population counts.

12.00pm – 12.30pm: 121 Meeting. I meet with my line reports on a weekly or fortnightly basis to provide support and guidance. At this meeting my line report has asked about the company pension scheme, and I direct them to the PHASTAR HR department for further information of the benefits provided by PHASTAR (including company/personal pension contributions, life insurance and private healthcare).  I also discuss the projects that they are currently working on and their progress towards meeting objectives for the year.

12.30pm-13.00pm: Lunch. The most important time of the day! Based in the city centre of Glasgow we are spoilt for choice. I opt to go to my favourite sandwich shop and pick up a large bagel (chorizo, smoked cheese, spring onion, chilli mayo, roast chicken and shredded cos lettuce!).

13.00pm-14.00pm: Internal Project Team meeting. On a weekly basis I review my project timelines and resource projections. Typically, the project team will meet on a weekly basis to discuss progress and work allocation, and to discuss any programming or statistical issues arising on the project.

It’s a busy day but I decide to take a few minutes to relax and have a game of pool in preparation for the afternoon ahead!

14.00pm – 16.00pm: Efficacy Analysis. Statisticians at PHASTAR are responsible for the programming of efficacy analysis for study reporting. This involves reviewing the SAP, protocol and other relevant documents prior to starting the analysis. This afternoon I’m working on some survival analysis; as per our internal quality process, “The PHASTAR Discipline”, I read the SAP, Protocol and other relevant documentation to have a good understanding of the analysis methodology prior to commencing work. I’m not sure of one of the censoring rules so I ask one of my colleagues for their advice. Having experience in the field, my colleague is able to help answer the question and point me in the right direction. Typical analysis methods that we encounter in clinical trials include survival analysis (Kaplan-Meier, Cox Proportional Hazards), mixed model repeated measures (MMRM), logistic regression, non-parametric analyses and multiple imputation, to name a few. The underlying assumptions of the models are checked, and any deviations raised for discussion with possible alternatives investigated.

16.00pm – 18.00pm: Internal Statistical Training. At PHASTAR we have an excellent culture of sharing our experience and expertise. Statisticians will present on relevant topics at training seminars and statistical fora. I spend some time in the late afternoon preparing a presentation for an upcoming statistical forum meeting (an informal knowledge sharing meeting within PHASTAR). The topic is ‘Estimands’ reflecting on the PSI One-Day meeting that I attended earlier in the year.

I’m working an extra hour tonight so that I can leave a bit early tomorrow to attend a concert. The flexible working policy is something I really like about working for PHASTAR 😊

Wednesday Night: Bowling Social Event. At PHASTAR we work hard but also play hard! We have regular social events, such as a bowling night. We typically go for a meal and a few drinks while testing out our bowling skills in friendly(ish) competitions!