Quantitative literacy

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In education and literacy, quantitative literacy (also called numeracy) is "the knowledge and skills required to apply arithmetic operations, either alone or sequentially, using numbers embedded in printed materials; for example, balancing a checkbook, figuring out a tip, completing an order form, or determining the amount of interest from a loan advertisement."[1]

Quantitative literacy is important in politics[2][3] and health care[4][5].

Health care

Health care numeracy is problematic. Health care providers[6][7][8][9][10] and patients[11][12][13][14][15][14][16] both have problems with quantitative reasoning. Some of the difficulty is doe to interpreting relative versus absolute measures of efficacy.[17][18] The problem is confounded by scientific journals not well presenting quantitative results.[19]

Comparing benefits of two treatments

Various formats including the number needed to treat have been tested to improve comprehension of quantitative comparisons of treatment benefit by patients[18][20][21][22][23][16][24] and by health care professionals[25][26][24].

In practicing evidence-based medicine, framing bias is best avoided by using numeracy with absolute measures of efficacy.[27][28]

Comparing accuracy of diagnostic methods

Various formats have been tested to improve comprehension of quantitative comparisons of diagnostic accuracy.[29][30] [25]


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