Statistical Literacy in Obstetricians and Gynecologists

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The Obstetrician-Gynecologist Statistical Literacy Questionnaire (OGSLQ) was designed to examine physicians’ understanding of various number tasks that are relevant to obstetrician-gynecologists (ob-gyns) practice. Forty-seven percent of the nationally representative, practicing ob-gyns responded. Physicians did poorly on the questions about numerical facts (e.g., number of women living with HIV/AIDS), better on questions about statistical concepts (e.g., incidence, prevalence), and best on questions about numerical relationships (e.g., convert frequency to percentage) with 0%, 7%, 36%, answering all correctly, respectively. Only 19% correctly estimated the number of U.S. women with cancer. Sixty-six percent were able to use sensitivity and specificity to choose a test option. Around 90% could translate between frequency and probability formats. Forty-nine percent of respondents were able to calculate the positive predictive value of a mammography screening test. Physicians lack some understanding of statistical literacy. It is important that we monitor physicians’ statistical literacy and provide training to students and physicians.

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