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This is the preliminary program for the 2007 Joint Statistical Meetings in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Activity Number: 213
Type: Roundtables
Date/Time: Tuesday, July 31, 2007 : 7:00 AM to 8:15 AM
Sponsor: Section on Health Policy Statistics
Abstract - #310293
Title: Approaches to Measuring Differences in Health That Are Unaffected by the Prevalence of an Outcome
Author(s): James P. Scanlan*+
Companies: Attorney at Law
Address: 1529 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20007,
Keywords: health disparities ; binary variables ; continuous variables ; mortality differences ; health inequality ; measurement

Binary measures of group differences in health outcomes vary, depending on the prevalence of the outcome. For example, as mortality declines, relative differences in mortality tend to increase, while relative differences in survival tend to decline. Measures that are functions of binary outcomes (e.g., gini coefficients, longevity differences) also tend to change in some manner as the prevalence of an outcome changes. This renders problematic efforts to evaluate the size of health disparities at different times or in different settings with measures based on mortality or morbidity rates. It is possible that continuous variables may offer approaches to measuring the size of group differences in health that are independent of changes in prevalence of the factor being examined. But that possibility must be tested, and factors that are useful to examine need to be identified.

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Revised September, 2007