Be Familiar With Biostatistics To Know The Evidence Better – Dr Yap Jun Fai, Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming & Dr Lim Yin Cheng

Biostatistics is fundamental to all of science, as it involves the gathering of statistically significant evidence in order to make good clinical judgements.

Statistics is a branch of mathematics dreaded by many, due to its daunting mathematical formulae and involvement of extensive number crunching.

But over time, statistics has evolved with greater emphasis in medicine. In this context, biostatistics refers to the application of statistical principles to problems in the medical field, and is now a compulsory subject in the medical school curriculum.

Medical students are expected to grasp the basic concepts of biostatistics, which will support better clinical decision-making in their careers later. 

Producing statistical output to solve questions in clinical trials requires decent medical knowledge and conceptual understanding of biostatistics. In fact, biostatistics is fundamental to all of science, as it involves the gathering of statistically-significant evidence in order to make good clinical judgements.

For instance, experimental studies like randomised controlled trials comparing the efficacy of a certain new drug often uses the methodology of biostatistics to determine the efficacy of the studied drug.

Without a basic understanding of biostatistics, a non-statistician reader may not fully understand the implication of the presented results or worse yet, misinterpret the scientific findings. 

In the era of the information age, especially given that there is a lot of uncertainty during the Covid-19 pandemic, every health care professional should be well-equipped with a basic knowledge of biostatistics.

Hence, if you are a health care professional wishing to make sense of medical data, do register for the Basic Biostatistics Workshop Using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS), organised by the National Heart Association of Malaysia.

You will learn the principles of biostatistics and basic data management, and be introduced to SPSS. You will also learn how to perform simple data analysis using several descriptive and inferential statistics.

Dr Yap Jun Fai, Prof Dr Moy Foong Ming and Dr Lim Yin Cheng are from the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, and the Department of Public Health, University of Malaya Medical Centre. The writers would like to thank the National Heart Association of Malaysia and its biostatistician, Liu Kien Ting, for the current collaborative work.

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