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Keywords

health Numeracy, physician numeracy, clinician numeracy, numeracy assessment

Abstract

Low numeracy in doctors poses serious risks to patient safety because inaccurate drug dose calculation may lead to under-treatment or overdose, while erroneous data interpretation affects medical decision making. Most research on numeracy in healthcare focuses on health numeracy in patients, while research on numeracy in doctors, “clinician numeracy”, is limited, partly due to the lack of a suitable assessment measure. We developed a new assessment, the Medical Interpretation and Numeracy Test (MINT), to assess clinician numeracy. The MINT tests computational, analytical and statistical constructs, using a combination of questions validated in other studies, and new test material specifically designed for doctors. We recruited 135 recently qualified doctors attending a teaching session on clinical decision making and risk communication to take our test. Psychometric analysis indicates that the MINT is a valid and reliable measure of clinician numeracy, with good internal-consistency reliability. Correlation with other numeracy/health numeracy tests varied greatly: this variation is understandable in view of the limited scope of many existing assessments that test only single constructs of numeracy/health numeracy. We conclude that the MINT provides a broad overview of clinician numeracy and can be a useful new assessment measure. Because of its important implications for patient safety, further research is needed to investigate clinician numeracy in doctors and other healthcare professionals, and to address and remediate deficiencies.

DOI

http://dx.doi.org/10.5038/1936-4660.9.1.5

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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