Comparing continuous data across groups is paramount in research and hospital operations. Naively assuming that any observed difference between the two groups implies that the groups are truly different ignores a few important facts: (1) there is natural variation that occurs in almost every process; and (2) our confidence in concluding that the differences are real, and not just due to chance. In the present article, we describe statistical procedures used to perform a comparison across 2 groups.

At some point in your career, you will likely want to compare data across ≥2 groups. In fact, this function is paramount to the research you read in this journal (eg, as shown in the first table given in almost any article) and to the day-to-day operations within hospitals. You may, for example, be asked to compare factors such as length of stay, mortality rates, productivity, or utilization of a specific drug...

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