HLT 362 Discuss the historical application of statistics in the field of health care

HLT 362 Discuss the historical application of statistics in the field of health care

HLT 362 Discuss the historical application of statistics in the field of health care

Statistics have been in used in the field of healthcare for a very long-time. They have been used in planning and improving healthcare activities as well as allocating resources to be used. Statistics were also used in healthcare to analyze research data, laboratory results, outcomes of treatment and the epidemiology of some condition (Health statistics: Past, present, and future – Toward a health statistics system for the 21st century – NCBI bookshelf, n.d.). With the statistical data, there has been significant improvement in the quality of care delivered and safety of patients since previous data inform the current practice on what to do and what to avoid. Use of statistics has been applied in preventing and managing infections in care facilities. Statistical methods such as rates, ratios and proportions have been used to present data concerning infections in care

facilities hence informing the stakeholders on the appropriate methods of minimizing the cases (Basic statistics for infection Preventionists, 2019).



Health statistics: Past, present, and future – Toward a health

statistics system for the 21st century – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.). National

Center for Biotechnology

Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK223602/

Basic statistics for infection Preventionists. (2019, February

15). APIC. https://apic.org/course/basic-statistics-for-infection-preventionists/

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History of Statistics 

Statistics is not a newly developed concept when it comes to looking for answers. In fact, it has been around for hundreds of years. “The roots of nursing practice are based on the use and statistical analysis of patient data” (Ambrose et al., 2022). Health statistics provide data to assist in the allocation of public as well as private funds. Statistics also enable the understanding of population characteristics, for example, disease mortality rates, morbidity or prevalence, and even quantification of health disparities. Previous scholars such as Florence Nightingale have impacted the health industry through the use of statistics to demonstrate needed healthcare initiatives.

Example of Statistical Application in Healthcare 

Because of how complex the human body, and mind are, and the ways in which all of these aspects interact with their

HLT 362 Discuss the historical application of statistics in the field of health care
HLT 362 Discuss the historical application of statistics in the field of health care

surroundings, statisticians and nursing researchers need to work together on a continuous basis. Sir Edwin Chadwick (1800-1890) had written a report in 2842 on the sanitary conditions among the laboring population in Great Britain. “Edwin demonstrated the existence of a mass of preventable illnesses and premature death in the community caused, he argued, by unsanitary physical circumstances” (Green et al., 2018). The painstaking documentation of statistical evidence written in his report about the social and spatial inequalities in health and unsanitary conditions is one of the earliest (1824) examples of providing evidence-based health advice to the public. His findings provided the foundation for advances made later on by figures such as William Farr (Green et al., 2018).



Ambrose, J., Helbig, J., Ryan, C., & Torres, E. (2022). Applied Statistics for Healthcare (Second Edition ed.). Grand Canyon University. https://bibliu.com/app/#/view/books/1000000000581/epub/Chapter1.html#page_8

Green, M. A., Dorling, D., & Mitchell, R. (2018, January). Updating Edwin Chadwick’s seminal work on geographical inequalities by occupation. National Library of Medicine, 59-62. 10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.11.055

That is an interesting example of how early statisticians like Edwin Chadwick had a significant impact on how we approach healthcare today. You are right that the use of statistics to provide evidence-based health advice has been around for centuries. As you mentioned, Florence Nightingale was another pioneer in this field, and she is credited for the modern use of pie charts, line graphs, and histograms to track data. She was also known for her work in developing the first hospital-based nursing school which used a data-driven approach to show that better hygiene practices could lower mortality rates (Lane, 2020). The work of these early figures in developing healthcare has been extremely influential to the field of healthcare today and it is amazing to see how far we have come.


Lane, C. (2020). Nursing: The Finest Art. Florence Nightingale. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.florence-nightingale.co.uk/nursing-the-finest-art/florence-nightingale/

Florence possessed leadership qualities that were not expected of women during her time; she was clear and decisive, often challenging the status quo. She did not embrace the Victorian conventions that marriage and domestic life were the only vocations for women. Rather, she was well versed in the natural and social sciences, applying statistical methods to health care data to demonstrate outcomes of interventions. She also was a pragmatic and collaborative leader. She worked with a diverse range of people to accomplish her goals: physicians, engineers, military officers and policymakers. She is known for having a clear vision regarding the outcomes she wanted to achieve, but she deferred to the technical or strategic expertise of her colleagues. Florence was plain spoken and at times could be judged as harsh and abrasive, but she was focused on change, not necessarily making everyone happy.

All of the work done by Florence and her leadership can be put into the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic. She advocated for six environmental themes: use of evidence, ventilation, personal and household cleanliness, patient observation, proper management of the environment, and advocacy. She used statistics about characteristics of nurses to document the need for professional nurses and advocated for the rights of patients and the public health of the community by stressing the cleanliness of individuals and their dwellings. She taught nurses the skills and habit of observation, including what and how to observe and to report facts rather than opinions.

Florence Nightingale: Part I. Strachey, Lytton. 1918. Eminent Victorians. (n.d.). Florence Nightingale: Part I. Strachey, Lytton. 1918. Eminent Victorians. Retrieved July 31, 2014, from https://www.bartleby.com/189/201.html

The historical application of statistics has been used in healthcare for many years to analyze data and create and utilize evidence-based practice. Evidence-based practice is important because it helps improve patient outcomes and quality of life (Helbig, & Ambrose, 2018). As we know nurses and other healthcare professionals use data from the statistics. As we know, Nightingale contributed to statistics on injuries, infection, and insanitary conditions, gathered that data and used it to help improve infection rates, mortality rates, and decrease injuries. Edwin Chadwick has greatly influenced health care practice when he appointed the poor sanitations. He used statistics to help improve sanitary conditions in turn improving individuals’ quality of life. Clara Barton was also a nurse who focused on the quality of life and health of the public. She used the application of statistics to change health cate by establishing the red cross, building data on the thousands of people homeless and helped raise money, food and supplies to aid survivors (Bolick, 2021).




Bolick , K. (2021, December 1). Clara Barton epitomized the heroism of Nurses. Smithsonian.com. Retrieved January 31, 2023, from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/clara-barton-hero-nurse-180979006/


Helbig, J. & Ambrose, J. (2018). Applied Statistics for Health Care. https://www.gcumedia.com/digital-resources/grand-canyon- university/2018/applied-statistics-for-health-care_1e.php