Intended for healthcare professionals


Influence of data display formats on decisions to stop clinical trials

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 16 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:1070

Paper is misleading, like a sheep dressed in a wolf's clothing

  1. James M Walker, senior clinical information architect (
  1. Penn State College of Medicine, PO Box 850 (H-136), Herhey, PA 17033, USA
  2. Department of Medical Specialties, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Boulevard-Box 40, Houston, TX 77030-4095, USA

    EDITOR—The abstract of Elting et al's paper gave the impression that icon displays resulted in significantly more correct decisions than did tables (P=0.03).1 In fact, the P value of 0.03 applies only to the comparison between icon displays and bar graphs or pie charts. The P value for the comparison between icon displays and tables is not significant (P=0.17 (p 1529))

    The study showed no significant difference between icon displays and tables for time to make the decision (P=0.81) or for the quality of the decision. In view of this, the …

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