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Understanding Health Statistics

How to Collect, Calculate, Analyze & Present Health Statistics

Tools of the Trade

This is a series of special reports that present and discuss the various statistical measurements, analytical methods, graphics, and data collection and processing methods commonly used with health statistics.

View a listing of all of these reports.

NOTE: There are many various approaches and methodologies involved with statistical analyses. The methods shown here are some of those most commonly used by staff of the Division of Health Informatics and are only presented to serve as basic guidelines. They should not be interpreted as always the most appropriate or conclusive analyses for any particular assessment. We recommend further consultation with a statistician familiar with analyzing health statistics before pursuing any important assessment.

Small Area Analysis

Calculating Reliable Rates and Comparing Rates Based on the Number of Events:

Calculating Reliable Rates and Standardized Ratios:
View a step-by-step flow chart for calculating reliable rates.

Comparing Rates and Percentages (determining significant differences):  
View a step-by-step flow chart for comparing rates and percentages, i.e., determining significant differences based on the type of rates being compared and the number of events involved.

Using Bayesian and Nearest Neighbor Rates.
View a discussion (PDF) of these special rates that can be reliably used for small numbers.