Use of statistics in health care and its significance to quality, safety, health promotion, and leadership

Statistics is the study of the collection of data, the organization of data, data analysis, data interpretation, and data presentation (Illowsky and Dean, 2016). It is a mathematical process that makes use of quantification models, synopses and representations for a given experiment or real-life study. It enables the collection of information and using that information to make decisions. Statistical methods and measures are applied in almost every sphere of life to allow for informed decision making. They play a fundamental role in researching, analyzing, planning and decision making. The healthcare sector is known to apply statistics in many ways for it to be capable of meeting its roles. There are many ways in why the healthcare professionals such as pharmacists, doctors, nurses, community healthcare workers, and other healthcare stakeholders apply statistics to enable them to succeed in their functions (Scott and Mazhindu, 2014).

First and foremost statistics is useful in health promotion through drugs and product development whereby statistics are used to collect data and carefully draw conclusions on clinical trials on new drugs, new treatment procedures, and other new technologies.  The statistics help the developers to weigh the merits against the demerits of a given development of a drug.

Besides, statistics are fundamental in determining health care utilization and allocation of resources. Demographic data such as sex, age, income, disabilities are useful in predicting the services people use and the level of healthcare they can afford. This data can get referenced when applying for funds, justification of budgets and effective allocation of resources such as money and drugs.

It also helps leaderships such as governments, ministries, and human health agencies to assess the overall health status of the population of a given community or country. The government can understand what the most prevalent disease or condition is, and through that data set policies on how to deal with that situation. It can use the data to understand if there is a need for increased hospitals, doctors, drugs, new technologies or even development of vaccination programs (Bottle and Aylin, 2017).

Statistics are also essential in improving the quality of the healthcare services that are provided by a healthcare provider or hospital. Statistical data like performance and failure such as the number of deaths or number of recovered patients helps them to analyze where the weaknesses are and therefore provide a basis for improved decision making. Decisions on how to minimize the weaknesses and maximize the strengths get made with high confidence levels.

Statistics is also vital in the pharmacological sector which majorly deals with the research and manufactures of drugs as well as the administration of drugs. Statistical techniques are useful in conducting experiments and trials on new medications and dosages. Statistics is particularly vital in pharmacological research as it summarizes the experimental data into central tendencies like median and average, variance such as deviation, range, standard errors and confidence interval as well as hypothesis testing. It can be used in hypotheses testing the superiority of one drug to another and the implications of the development of such a drug (Ab, 2015). The data collected from the trials and experiments are analyzed and interpreted. It is then used to make day to day decisions on whether to use a new drug, increase the dosage, and modify an existing drug or even ban the use of a given drug may be due to its effects or development of resistance by diseases (European Medicines Agency, 2016).

Statistics are also useful in the control of infectious diseases. Statistics are used to rank countries or areas based on the epidemiology of a given condition. This data is then used to isolate or quarantine the movement of people and animals and hence control the spread of a particular disease. In cases of Ebola and swine flu, when the statistics get to a given percentage, a country can deter movement of people from one region to another to prevent pandemics (Wilson et al., 2015).

Obtaining statistical data and its usefulness in the organization

I am in the nursing profession where we deal with administering drugs to patients, following up on patients’ medical progress and undertaking the physicians’ instructions on patients. Statistics are also crucial in the nursing field in many ways. Data collected is from nurses’ notes, medicines used, progress, diagnosis and other physical examination parameters and it is then analyzed. Since statistics provide explanations as to how one event leads to another, statistics get applied in following medical protocols and administration of drugs by nurses (Quirk and Cummings, 2014).  It is useful to every nurse’s day to day decision making because it allows the nurse to make a priority on treatments and decide as to whether or not a sick person needs immediate care and attention or not. It also determines the follow-up care requirements of a particular patient. They can also use the signs and symptoms in patients to make appropriate decisions. Overall this helps in health promotion and improvement of the decision making process and the quality of healthcare. Statistics are critical in long term acute care hospital as they are useful in monitoring the patients’ progress and impact decisions on how to best progress with treatment and care after doing an analysis on collected data (Bottle and Aylin, 2017).

References

Ab, R. J. (2015). Brief Guidelines for Methods and Statistics in Medical Research. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Bottle, A., & Aylin, P. (2017). Statistical methods for healthcare performance monitoring.  Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis

European Medicines Agency. (2016). Guideline on multiplicity issues in clinical trials. (http://www.ema.europa.eu/docs/en_GB/document_library/Scientific_guideline/2017/03/WC500224998.pdf).

Illowsky, B., & Dean, S. (2016). Introductory Statistics. Houston, Texas: OpenStax.

Quirk, T. J., & Cummings, S. (2014). Excel 2010 for health services management statistics: A guide to solving practical problems. Cham: Springer

Scott, I., & Mazhindu, D. (2014). Statistics for healthcare professionals: An introduction. London: SAGE Publications Ltd

Wilson, J., Chen, D. G., & Springer Science. (2015). Innovative statistical methods for public health data. Cham: Springer.