One effort to improve the efficiency of the health care system provides patients and doctors with more information about the quality of care delivered by hospitals. The idea is to help consumers find the best hospital to treat their illness.
These data describe patients with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in the United States, with an estimated 207,090 new cases diagnosed and 39,840 deaths in 2010 alone. The data indicate outcomes at two hospitals, Community Hospital (CH) and University Hospital (UH), and the type of breast cancer. Early-stage cancers are more easily treated than later-stage cancers. Each cell of the table gives the number of deaths due to breast cancer and the number of surgeries. For example, at the Community Hospital (frst row), there were 3 deaths among the 30 surgeries to treat early-stage cancer.
(a) In general, should patients be allowed to see only the marginal totals for each hospital rather than all of the information in this table? Give the advantages of releasing just the marginal information (the summary of both types of cancers) versus releasing the full table.
(b) If a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer at an early stage, what probabilities should she focus on when comparing these two hospitals: marginal or conditional?
(c) Create a table that shows the percentages of patients who die from breast cancer in each hospital at each stage.
(d) What proportion of cases at the community hospital are late stage? At the university hospital?
(e) Which hospital has the lower death rate for early-stage cancers? Late-stage cancers?
(f) Which hospital has the lower overall death rate from breast cancer?
(g) How should a woman diagnosed with breast cancer interpret the results of these data? Write a few sentences giving guidance in how to interpret these results.
(h) In order to help patients choose a good hospital, is it sufficient to release marginal statistics like the overall death rate from breast cancer? Or is more information needed for patients to interpret health outcomes?

  • CreatedJuly 14, 2015
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