Clinician attitudes toward biostatistics

Mayo Clin Proc. 2007 Aug;82(8):939-43. doi: 10.4065/82.8.939.


Objective: To assess clinician attitudes toward biostatistics at an academic medical center.

Participants and methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of medical students, internal medicine resident physicians, and internal medicine teaching faculty at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, MN, in April 2005.

Results: Of 468 eligible participants, 301 (64.3 percent) responded to the survey. A total of 87.3 percent of respondents (262/300) believed it would benefit their career to better understand biostatistics, but only 17.6 percent (53/301) believed their training in biostatistics was adequate for their needs. A total of 23.3 percent of respondents (70/ 300) agreed they could identify when correct statistical methods had been applied in a study, 28.0 percent (84/300) agreed they could design their own research projects with confidence, and 14.6 percent (44/301) agreed they could conduct their own statistical analyses with confidence. Respondents with the highest self-reported level of statistical education and research experience were more likely to report these skills (all, P less than .001). A total of 92.7 percent of respondents (279/301) believed biostatistics is an important part of evidence-based medicine (EBM), and 88.0 percent (265/301) believed EBM is important for clinical practice. However, biostatistics was not evaluated as being as important as many other areas of study within medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Biometry*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / education
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine* / education
  • Internship and Residency
  • Male
  • Minnesota
  • Physicians / psychology*
  • Research / education
  • Research Design
  • Statistics as Topic / education
  • Students, Medical / psychology