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Health Statistics and You

health-statistics
Preventive Care is the Best Care
In health care, an ounce of prevention is worth very much more than a pound of cure. If you can prevent health problems from happening, you save a great deal of time, effort, and money. Also, by avoiding the frequently ongoing stress and anxiety associated with treatment of a chronic illness, you and your family conserve precious, irreplaceable personal resources such as peace of mind.

A comprehensive preventive care program incorporates a healthy food plan, consistent regular exercise, and regular chiropractic care. Regular chiropractic care, focusing on the spinal column and targeting nerve interference, is a key resource in your health care program. Regular chiropractic care provides the framework so that your body can function at peak efficiency, thus helping ensure your long-term health and well-being.

We are awash in numbers, thanks in large part to the proliferation of personal mobile devices and the wrong-headed use of so-called big data.1 But applying statistical tools to the same set of data can support competing theories and lead to contradictory results. Such conflicting outcomes, known as antinomies if you remember Philosophy 101, cannot logically co-exist, and the field of statistics gets a bad reputation as a result. But big data can provide substantial value for people as individual patients. The key is to set some ground rules and understand the limitations of statistical investigation.

First and foremost, it's important to gain some clarity regarding the concept of false positives in regards to health. This statistical construct is familiar to all of us, although we may not be aware of it. If one of your doctors sends you for a laboratory test and the results are "positive", you'll be sent for follow-up tests until a final determination is made. If the final test turns out "negative", then the earlier results represented a false positive. The test results said you had the condition or disease, but in fact you did not.

False positives create numerous serious problems, not the least of which is the emotional toll of stress, anxiety, and fear experienced by the patient and her family and close friends. This is especially true when the suspected disease is a malignancy or other serious, life-threatening condition. It's useful and empowering for people to learn that 5% of all test results are falsely positive right from the start. Medical tests are designed this way. The 5% false positive rate is a necessary part of statistical analysis. It's built-in to the statistical design. In other words, test values that represent "normal" are obtained by cutting off the bottom 2.5% and the top 2.5% of a large sample of results from people who are "normal" for the thing being tested, such as white blood cell count or hemoglobin level.

Thus, 5% of normal people automatically have false positive results. Another way of stating this outcome is to consider that if you undergo a panel of 20 blood tests, one result (5% of 20) will be positive no matter what.

The vast majority of patients are not familiar with the statistical concept of false positive results.2 With a basic understanding of this construct and its implications, patients could ask their doctors meaningful questions such as, "What do the test results mean?,", "Have you considered the possibility of a false positive result?," and "How will the additional tests you're recommending affect decision-making in my case?"

Posing such questions is tremendously empowering for you, the patient, and helps reestablish equity in the doctor-patient relationship.3 As a health care consumer, a little knowledge goes a long way. Gaining more than a little knowledge by reading articles on diagnostic methods and health care decision-making will further strengthen your own process as a patient. 

1Bates DW, et al: Big data in health care: using analytics to identify and manage high-risk and high-cost patients. Health Aff (Millwood) 33(7):1123-31, 2014
2Paddock SM: Statistical benchmarks for health care provider performance assessment: a comparison of standard approaches to a hierarchical Bayesian histogram-based method. Health Serv Res 49(3):1056-73, 2014
3Stacey D, et al: Decision aids for people facing health treatment or screening decisions. Cochane Database Syst Rev 28;1:CD001431, 2014

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Testimonial

I slipped on ice in December, landing hard on my behind. I was in excruciating pain and could barely move. It was a Saturday night but I called the office and left a message (new patient, too, found them on Google.) I received a call back first thing Monday morning, they got me right in that day, and I just completed my 3- month treatment plan. I feel so much better and am happy to have found Dr. Ide and his staff.

  ~Amy Hawker

Dr. Ide and his staff are awesome. I had all but given up and I saw his ad. I am s happy to be out of partial pain and I have only gone twice, I cannot wait for the end results. Just to be pain free. Dr. Ide, I thank you so much.

   ~ Patsy Dimond-Spencer

Dr. Ide and his staff have given me my life back. The day I called to make my first appointment I had been suffering from a migraine and severe neck pain for 6 days. This was also after receiving multiple pain injections from my primary physician with no relief. His staff not only verified my insurance was accepted at this location before even offering me an appointment time (which multiple offices will not do this) over the phone but I was able to make an appointment for the same day. Dr. Ide took the time to obtain pertinent patient history and not only explain but he also showed me on my x-rays why I was experiencing pain. He addressed the root of the problem instead of pushing prescriptions to subside your symptoms. HE discussed my POA in detail and reiterated why finishing therapy and continuing home therapy was important. I was hesitant and nervous about my first adjustment but again, he took the time to walk me through each step. Paired with my weekly adjustments I also receive massage therapy. Monica, the massage therapist is incredible. She takes the time to ask specific questions before the massage to ensure she provides the best care possible. Kasey, Dr. Ide's assistant is extremely personable and continues to make sure you feel comfortable throughout your visit. The front staff also provides a warm and welcoming environment. Within my first month of treatment, I'm able to go das without a headache now and I have reduced the frequency of my pain medication. I highly recommend Dr. Ide and his staff!

    ~Leah Craig

Very friendly staff and knowledgeable doctor! After doing a 3 month program, I no longer have daily headaches, back pain or neck pain. Most doctor's adjust your back and send you on your way - Dr. Ide makes sure to turn it into a lifestyle change by improving your posture and fixing any issues you may have. I would definitely recommend him over any chiropractor.

    ~Lauren Dunigan

I always have good service and leave feeling good! The people are nice and all know my name. I really like how they do business for senior citizens... that's a big plus!
~Nancy Matson

Very extensive in the examination. Not like other chiropractors I'd seen who just do a quick adjustment. They diagnosed the problem and are working to correct it with me. They have even went so far as to work out payment arguments for the things my insurance wouldn't cover.

    ~Brandon Ogle

I had neck and shoulder pain since 2010. Ever since I started going to him I have felt better and better!

    ~Andrel Jacobs 

I had ankle problems all my life in my left foot. Dr. Ide adjusted my ankle for me and within one adjustment my ankle felt the best ever. Thanks Dr. Ide!

              A.H.
              Fenton, MI

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