Statistical jargon is essential, but it needs to make sense to grassroots GPs


NNT and risk calculations and confidence intervals and all forms of tricky statistics are essential tools, but they need to make sense to us, writes Dr Jon Fogarty.

At a recent medical meeting, I was roused from my semi-somnolent state by the speaker declaring proudly that the number needed to treat (NNT) with drug X, to prevent one death from cardiovascular disease over three years, was 39.

Now, I’m not sure just what it was about this dry statistic that penetrated my comfortable, post-prandial brain.