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Stay Sharp!

Watch out for those annual survey announcements!

You can make health program, work place/organizational health and group health benefit decisions based on experience, “feel”, and/or internal corporate dynamics. Many do. However, if you want to also marshal data-based change ™ for a better-informed decision, then it is best to know what to do when...

The headline you read in an email, on a website or in the newspaper states “Pharmacists concerned about …” Then the text of the article typically follows this pattern: “A survey of pharmacists indicates that 61% of pharmacists are concerned about …” Then it says “100 pharmacists responded to an annual survey undertaken by…. 61 indicated that the situation regarding…. is highly detrimental to patient health." Later it states that the survey is sent to all pharmacists in the province annually. It concludes with “This marks a 10% increase in concerned pharmacists compared with last year’s survey of pharmacists.”

Of course, this type of news item can apply to doctors, employers, or any other unit measured, including researchers! Just fill in the blanks above.

Stay sharp! Should you conclude from this type of study that in fact 61% of pharmacists are concerned? Can you tentatively say that the issue has either intensified or is affecting more pharmacists? Can you definitively say simply that a very small percent of pharmacists chose to respond this year and that more of them are concerned about the issue?