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A Common Wealth of

Population Health & Primary Care Information

Getting Started

Health Statistics provide information for understanding, monitoring, improving and planning the use of resources to improve the lives of people, provide services and promote their well being.

The following tutorials describes the range of available health statistics, identifies their sources and helps you understand how to use information about their structure as you search.

Important Definitions

Statistics – the practice or science of collecting and analyzing numerical data in large quantities


Data – raw numbers collected together for reference or analysis


Vital Statistics – Statistics concerning the important events in human life, i.e. birth, death, marriage, etc. 


Correlation – mutual relationship or connectionbetween two or more things


Rate – expresses the frequency  with which an event occurs in a defined population in a specified period of time


Incidence  the proportion of new cases of the target disorder in the population at risk during a specified time interval


Prevelance – the proportion of a total population who have a particular health-related condition. 


Sources: 

1. Strauss SE, Richardson WS, Glasziou P, Haynes RB, eds. Evidence-Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM. 3rd Ed. ed. Edinburgh: Elsevier; 2004.

2. Kielhofner G. Descriptive quantitative design. In: Kielhofner G, ed. Research in Occupational Therapy. 1st ed. Philadelphia: F.A. Davis Company; 2006:58.