Statistical Review – P-values, Outcomes, Point-estimates and Confidence Intervals


Ever read a paper and feel a bit confused about all the statistical jargon and how to properly interpret the findings? At NEJM Resident 360, we’re trying something new and bringing you Statistical Review which aims to cover some key areas in research methodology and trial design. On this episode, we aim to cover basic ground over study end-points, point-estimates, confidence intervals, and p-values.


00:00 – Introduction
01:50 – Outline of paper
02:25 – Statistical concepts: p-values, end-points, point-estimates and confidence intervals
03:10 – Background
03:36 – Primary vs Secondary end-points, what do they mean?
06:35 – Pitfalls of secondary end-points
08:30 – Point estimates and confidence intervals and how to use them
10:05 – Why a paper with no p-value?
10:59 – Takeaways

Additional resources:

1. The Changing Face of Clinical Trials: The Primary Outcome is Positive – Is That Good Enough?, NEJM, 2016
2. The Changing Face of Clinical Trials: The Primary Outcome Fails – What Next?, NEJM, 2016
3. JAMA Guide to Statistics and Methods: Gatekeeping strategies for avoiding false-positive results in clinical trials with many comparisons, JAMA, 2017

The Curbside Consults series complements the foundational information in NEJM R360 Rotation Prep by taking a deep dive into key clinical topics with expert clinicians and educators. These podcasts explore and critique the evidence behind clinical practice and break down statistical concepts for the busy clinical trainee.

 Angela Chen is a 2018-2019 NEJM editorial fellow. She is an endocrine fellow who trained at Flinders Medical Centre and the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Angela received her medical degree from the University of Adelaide, and masters of public health from the University of Sydney. Her clinical and research interests are in the areas of glucocorticoid and cardiovascular endocrinology and diabetes medicine.

 Angela Castellanos is a general pediatrician and editorial fellow at the NEJM.