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

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Health statistics serve diverse needs:
  • Individuals use health statistics to understand their own risks, conditions, and health status in a broader context.
  • Researchers and physicians use them to study the causes and solutions of health problems.
  • Health resource planners use them to understand the allocation of health resources.
  • Policy makers and the public use them to monitor progress.
  • Legislators consult them when enacting laws, conducting program oversight, and considering appropriations.

Successful users:
  • Consult wide array of sources
  • Understand their limitations.
  • Focus on how data were collected and
  • Assess their statistical properties.

This means that they not only search for indicators but also examine:
  • The universe covered, and
  • The factors that add statistical uncertainty.
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