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National Information Center on Health Services Research and Health Care Technology (NICHSR)

Promoting Health
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Physicians and public health officials use health statistics to promote health by:
  • Identifying risky behaviors that are prevalent in the population. For example, the HHS Healthy People initiative has established goals for the promotion of health, which are measured with statistical indicators. See their website for more information.
  • Spotting emerging health conditions such as infectious diseases to prevent their spread. Surveillance frequently uses health statistics as a sentinel marker. For examples, see CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Review.
  • Observing the effect of preventative measures on the incidence of disease and wellness. For example the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention uses statistical indicators to measure conditions before and after their activities and calibrate their work. See their description of National Outcomes Measures.
  • Benchmarking case histories. Physicians examine the relationship between risk or preventative factors and the incidence of disorders.This helps them select a course of treatment to prevent full-blown emergence. For example, data on the effects of hypertension are the basis for establishing desirable blood pressure levels. See the Heart Attack Risk Calculator.
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