Medical Statistics

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Statistics, Medical


a branch of social statistics and, at the same time, a division of social medicine and the organization of public-health services. Medical statistics includes population-health statistics and public-health organization statistics. The former studies medicodemographic processes and the dynamics of morbidity and physical development. The latter records and analyzes statistics on medical networks and the activities and staffs of medical institutions. Medical statistics as a branch of science started developing in the 19th century. In Russia, this development was significantly tied with zemstvo medicine (the district form of medical service for rural areas that arose in Russia in the late 19th century).

Medical statistics studies the health of a population by collecting and investigating statistical data on population size and composition and on such vital statistics as birthrate, mortality, physical development, morbidity, disability, and life-span. It also studies the dependence of a population’s mortality on the morbidity level and the dependence of morbidity and mortality (from particular diseases) on various environmental factors. Numerical data are collected and analyzed on the network of public-health institutions. The activities of these institutions are studied, as are the staffs that plan medical measures and monitor the execution of network developmental plans and the evaluation of the quality of work performed by medical institutions. Medical statistics also establishes the reliability of the results of research conducted at clinics and laboratories and evaluates the effectiveness of different preventive and therapeutic methods.

Medical statistics utilizes the law of large numbers, which makes it possible to free statistical indexes from the influence of random phenomena and to determine in a group of studied phenomena the effect of objective patterns, including epidemiológica!, medicogeographic, and sociomedical patterns. Medical statistics also uses the methods of mathematical statistics; for example, correlation, dispersion, and multifactoral analyses are used in all cases of sampling.


Hill, B. Osnovy meditsinskoi statistiki. Moscow, 1958. (Translated from English.)
Merkov, A. M. Obshchaia teoriia i metodika sanitarno-statistiche-skogo issledovaniia, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1963.
Ocherki istorii otechestvennoi sanitarnoi statistiki. Edited by A. M. Merkov. Moscow, 1966.
Batkis, G. A., and L. G. Lekarev. Sotsial’naia gigiena i organizatsiia zdravookhraneniia. Moscow, 1969.
Merkov, A. M., and L. E. Poliakov. Sanitarnaia statistika. Leningrad. 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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