Decimal numbers and safe interpretation of clinical pathology results

Sinnott, Michael, Eley, Robert, Steinle, Vicki, Boyde, Mary, Trenning, Leanne and Dimeski, Goce (2014) Decimal numbers and safe interpretation of clinical pathology results. Journal of Clinical Pathology, 67 2: 179-181. doi:10.1136/jclinpath-2013-201865

Author Sinnott, Michael
Eley, Robert
Steinle, Vicki
Boyde, Mary
Trenning, Leanne
Dimeski, Goce
Title Decimal numbers and safe interpretation of clinical pathology results
Journal name Journal of Clinical Pathology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0021-9746
Publication date 2014-01-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1136/jclinpath-2013-201865
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 67
Issue 2
Start page 179
End page 181
Total pages 3
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher B M J Group
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: To determine the understanding of decimal numbers by medical laboratory scientists, doctors and nurses.

Methods: A Decimal Comparison Test determined the comprehension of decimals numbers. Additional questions sought the participants' understanding of concentrations and reference ranges, and their preferences for the presentation of clinical pathology results.

Results: Of the 108 participants, 40% exhibited poor comprehension of decimal numbers. One-third of the medical laboratory scientists, a quarter of doctors, and half the nurses were characterised as lacking numeracy skills. The majority of participants (60%) thought it would be safer for results to be presented as whole numbers rather than as decimals with leading zeros.

Conclusions: The number of laboratory and clinical staff who show numeracy issues that could lead to misinterpretation of clinical pathology results and contribute to medical error strongly supports recommendations that pathology results should be presented as whole numbers.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 2 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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