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Statistical Data in Health Care


Health care settings require decision-makers to navigate the complexity of medical data, which is why the application of statistics needs to guide the operations of hospitals, government entities, and pharmaceutical companies. The utilization of statistical knowledge helps health care providers to identify the problem, develop appropriate interventions to solve it and continue to monitor these initiatives after their initial implementation. Although statistics play a crucial role in ensuring the quality and safety of care, health promotion, and effective leadership, the purpose of the paper is to focus on the practical ways data can be applied in day-to-day decision-making. It is important to acknowledge that the application of statistical data requires cooperation, staff engagement, and structural changes.

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Improving Safety and Quality of Care

Health care implies the existence of complex adaptive organizations such as hospitals, medical centers, and governmental offices. Therefore, it is crucial to support the decision-making process in the healthcare setting by using solid evidence rather than emotions, assumptions, and isolated occurrences. The routine utilization of statistics through scanning and analyzing data makes the majority of problems clear and self-evident (Hagan, 2018). Examples include various infection rates and adverse events. The collection and subsequent assessment of data help medical leadership to identify possible opportunities for improvement, which is essential for the long-term success of implemented health care strategies. By evaluating the existing processes, statistical frameworks enable the necessary interventions. In addition, data can help sustain improvement of quality and safety by monitoring and refining interventions. However, the research demonstrates that “communication between knowledgeable statisticians and clinicians is needed to plan the appropriate data collection and analysis strategy” (Hagan, 2018, p. 2). Therefore, the application of statistical knowledge is a complex process, but it remains integral in developing a systematic and organized approach to the implementation and improvement of interventions.

The Significance of Data in Health Promotion and Leadership

Apart from the safety and quality of care, statistical knowledge plays a crucial role in health promotion and leadership. When it comes to health promotion, medical professionals can use data and ‘repackage’ it to enable convenient and easy communication with the public. Statistical risk assessment and projection tools are utilized to educate the general public on the ways to improve their health and avoid diseases. The recent case of COVID-19 has demonstrated the importance of statistics as a tool to persuade the masses to engage in risk-decreasing acts of wearing a mask or washing their hands.

As for leadership, data can be used to gain a better understanding of the key competencies of effective leadership. A recent study by Hargett et al. (2017) suggests that the application of statistical insights can help scientists collaborate with medical organizations to develop a model for efficient leadership in health care. Using a mixed qualitative-quantitative approach, the researchers created a graphical representation of a successful leadership model in the healthcare setting. It was based on “the core principle of Patient Centeredness and the core competencies of Integrity, Teamwork, Critical Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, and Selfless Service” (Hargett et al., 2017). Academic efforts powered by the utilization of statistical frameworks (as in the case of Hargett et al.) enhance health care leadership, education, patient care, and affect future research.

Application of Statistical Knowledge: A Real-Life Example

In theory, the application of statistical data has various benefits in regards to the quality and safety of care provided to the patients. In practice, it is important to acknowledge the challenges medical professionals and hospital executives have to face to incorporate statistical frameworks into their operations. For instance, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin (CHW), a nationally ranked pediatric center, “wanted to reduce its rates of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs)—such as central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLASBIs) and pressure ulcers (PUs)” (Pestotnik & Lemon, 2019). To start an intervention to support improvement initiatives, the center’s leadership decided to implement some HAC applications that would help to access data. CHW obtained the majority of the statistical insights from an automated analytics platform that enabled real-time reporting (Pestotnik & Lemon, 2019). Using the data, the hospital created improvement teams that would develop interventions related to hospital-acquired conditions.

These efforts required an extreme amount of focus on staff education and engagement. As a result, CHW reduced the number of “overall HAC cases by 30 percent (a $1.6 million savings), CLABSIs by 23 percent, PUs by 74 percent, and venous thromboembolism (VTEs) by 68 percent” (Pestotnik & Lemon, 2019). The initiative also implied the incorporation of a new governance structure that would include data managers, project supervisors, and HAC special units.


Statistics are an integral part of medical practice, which is why it is crucial for health care providers to incorporate data into their daily operations. The process of collecting and assessing data enables medical institutions to identify and prioritize their issues to develop appropriate interventions. The long-term efficiency of statistics application depends on the organized efforts of decision-makers to facilitate structural changes and encourage staff education.

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Hagan, J. L. (2018). The use of statistics in healthcare quality improvement. JOJ Nursing & Health Care, 8(5). 1-2.

Hargett, C. W., Doty, J. P., Hauck, J. N., Webb, A. M., Cook, S. H., Tsipis, N. E., … Taylor, D. C. (2017). Developing a model for effective leadership in healthcare: a concept mapping approach. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 9. 69-78.

Pestotnik, S., & Lemon, V. (2019). How to use data to improve quality and patient safety. Health Catalyst. Web.

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