A computer program to calculate indicators of descriptive epidemiology

Ettore Bidoli, Anna Redivo, Silvia Franceschi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Comparison of incidence and mortality data between areas is useful for monitoring the health status of a population, for exploring quality of health care, and for planning studies on determinant(s) of heterogeneous patterns. Common statistical indicators involved, together with their confidence intervals, are age-specific and cumulative rates, age-standardized rates and ratios, and expected numbers. The data required for calculations include information of event distribution according to age and residence, and corresponding population at risk. The calculations of these indicators, although conceptually simple, can be a cumbersome task to carry out with available statistical packages; lack of flexibility to suit the need of specific researches represents another problem. In order to facilitate descriptive epidemiological studies, we developed a set of Statistical Analysis System macros to compute indicators but, also, to read and write data from/to some standard file formats. Important features of these macros are their flexibility, expandibility, and ability to be transferred to various computer platforms. Moreover, macros give an added value to raw data. The method is illustrated using published incidence data from Italy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-263
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Biomedical Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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