Residents fall short on stats

Most medical residents don’t understand statistics in medical literature, calling into question their ability to interpret research data, according to a survey by Yale researchers published in the September 5 issue of JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. In a survey of 277 internal medicine residents in 11 programs, residents scored an average of 41 percent. Senior residents performed worse than junior residents, suggesting that, with the passage of time, knowledge was lost or not reinforced.

“Most residents in this study lack the knowledge in biostatistics needed to interpret many of the results in published clinical research,” said corresponding author Donna M. Windish, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of medicine. “Residency programs should include more effective biostatistics training in their curricula to successfully prepare residents for this important lifelong learning skill.

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