Healthcare providers are faced with a vast amount of numeric information during their daily routine. This information has to be integrated to make informed decisions that are in the patient’s best interest. The operating room represents a setting where this issue is particularly relevant. Here, decision making often occurs under severe time pressure leaving no room for careful considerations.
Unfortunately, not all people are good at using numeric information because it is often abstract and its meaning depends on the context. The concept of numeracy – the ability to use and understand numbers in daily life – captures these interpersonal differences. The importance of numeracy in healthcare has been repeatedly highlighted. However, studies are usually concerned with the effects of patients’ numeracy. Numeracy of healthcare providers has been largely ignored so far.
We will present the design of a planned experimental study aiming to address this gap. In this experiment, medical students listen to a recording describing a scene from an operating room. The scenario contains different numeric information. This information can be important, i.e. when interpreted correctly, participants need to intervene to prevent harm by pressing a button. The presentation of numeric information is manipulated. Numeracy is assessed via questionnaire.