Applied Statistics for Healthcare Professionals Discussion Questions

Discuss the historical application of statistics in the field of health care. Describe an example, other than Florence Nightingale\’s contributions, where statistical application has greatly influenced or changed health care operations or practice. Discuss why it is important for a person working in health care to understand statistical concepts. Provide an example of how statistical data is used in your organization or specialty area today and what you are expected to do with this information as a practitioner. (specialty area is inpatient mental health).

Answer

Applied Statistics for Healthcare Professionals

Statistics involves the collection and analysis of data intending to make inferences and conclusions about the general populations and predict future trends. Statistics have played major roles in healthcare development and decision-making since time immemorial. Florence Nightingale applied various principles of statistics to develop her environmental theory. Statistics have played major roles in nursing evolution and research. In this discussion, I describe the role statistics made in nursing development and provide scenarios where I would apply statistics to provide care.

Statistics in Healthcare in the Early 20th Century

At the beginning of the 20th century, vaccines and other health prevention strategies were rather based on secondary and tertiary prevention. There was no widespread vaccine use as it is currently and medical technologies were crude as compared to what is available in the health care system today (Bhatia et al., 2019). There were more pressing population health issues such as infant mortality that made congress act at the healthcare legislation level. President Theodore Roosevelt convened a meeting in 1909 in the Whitehouse with all stakeholders in health and children’s welfare. Just to quote the president, he said “There are few things more vital to the welfare of the Nation than accurate and dependable knowledge of the best methods of dealing with children …”. In 1912, Congress passed legislation that led to the creation of the Children’s Bureau which was signed into law by President William Howard Taft on April 9th, 1912. After the creation of the Children’s Bureau, it was tasked with instigating, reporting, and intervening in this public health issue – infant mortality.

The Children’s Bureau’s initial undertakings were to investigate infant and child mortality and the best was to prevent this public health issue. Therefore, the bureau constantly and regularly collected data and reported this data regularly on the trends and best means to reduce child mortality. The other achievement of this bureau was educational campaigns for preventive health to reduce mortality among children. Their education campaigns were based on collected data related to child mortality. The role of data and statistics even grew further as the Whitehouse conference of 1919 adopted the data and statistics that had been collected by the Children’s Bureau to make concrete government recommendations to improve the health of children (Connolly & Golden, 2018). Since then, approaches to child wellbeing have been based on research and statistical evidence. This application of statistics in healthcare greatly influenced healthcare practice. Nursing practice, especially, today has been based on evidence rather than intuition and experiences.

Importance of Understating Statistical Concepts

The current paradigm of healthcare and nursing is evidence-based practice. This practice is based on research that relies on statistical data to make recommendations and conclusions. Therefore, one has to understand the impotence of statistical concepts to successfully apply the evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice has been associated with health care quality improvement and is currently one of the tenets of QSEN competencies in nursing training and practice. In my organization, statistical concepts apply in daily routine practice. In my specialty are – inpatient mental health – statistical data is applied from basic patient monitoring to administrative decision making. Patient monitoring such as blood pressure observation requires serial measurements and trends observed for clinical decision-making on the patient’s care. Readmission rates at the administrative level are used to decide on health care quality and reimbursements. Therefore, statistics and current healthcare are inseparable if the quality of the ultimate goal.

References

Bhatia, A., Krieger, N., & Subramanian, S. V. (2019). Learning from history about reducing infant mortality: Contrasting the centrality of structural interventions to early 20th-century successes in the United States to their neglect in current global initiatives. The Milbank Quarterly97(1), 285–345. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-0009.12376

Connolly, C. A., & Golden, J. (2018). “Save 100,000 Babies”: The 1918 Children’s Year and its legacy. American Journal of Public Health108(7), 902–907. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2018.304354

Nevada State College. (2020, October 26). Why nurses need statistics. Nsc. https://online.nsc.edu/nursing/rn-to-bsn/nurses-need-statistics/

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