Wednesday, 12 September 2007

A large majority of physicians in training do not understand statistics, says Yale study

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A new study from Yale shows that 75 percent of physicians in training surveyed do not understand the statistics used in medical literature. The study surveyed internal medicine residents at 11 programs across the country.

The residents scored an average of 41% correct on the test and the senior residents scored worse than the junior residents, possibly reflecting a loss of knowledge over time.

Practically all of the residents surveyed agreed that it is necessary to know something about statistics in order to be able to read medical literature and 77 percent expressed an interest in learning more about the field.

According to the corresponding author, Dr. Donna M. Windish, "If physicians cannot detect appropriate statistical analyses and accurately understand their results, the risk of incorrect interpretation may lead to erroneous applications of clinical research."

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