A percentile is a value below which a percentage of data falls.
This means that if you are in a group of 10 people, and you are the 9th tallest at 6 foot 5 inches, then 6′ 5″ is the 80th percentile height in your group. Note that the value falls below your point in the data set.
It is difficult to dispute the numbers when they are on paper, but what happens when there is a dispute about how that data is organized?
“Or” is the operative word
The mathematical community tends to have different ideas regarding whether certain percentiles should be regarded as greater than, as in your height is greater than 80% of the group, or greater than or equal to, or, your height is greater than or equal to 80% of the group.
Whether or not the percentile is greater than or equal to is not a terribly important matter when it comes to your height in a group of ten people in an arbitrary observation, but it can be significant when dealing with healthcare.
Where numbers make sense (and dollars)
Certain percentiles from the AMA guidelines can be clearly defined within the RateFast software to, when given data, produce a definitive result. If the range of motion of an injured arm falls into a certain percentile, then it can be calculated to give an outcome of a known degree of impairment. Whether the percentile is greater than or equal to could determine the overall payout of the claim.
Percentiles are not so black and white in all medical situations, however.
A need for frequent revision
There are situations in which analysts collect data, then mathematicians who interpret said data work with the doctors at institutions such as the AMA to determine the parameters of certain disorders or illnesses. These numbers may not be significant to the doctors the same way that they were significant to the analysts.
For example, in the case of an obesity study in the 70’s and 80’s, it was determined that those who fell into a Body Mass Index of the 85th percentile of those studied were considered overweight, and those who fell into the 95th percentile were considered obese.
As the population changes, data might not necessarily reflect current situations. The percentile of those who are overweight in the United States in the 21st century must be modified to reflect current data sets, as the number of overweight and obese individuals have seen a meteoric rise over the past few decades.
This is why RateFast is constantly updating software in order to keep the numbers relevant to the current AMA guidelines, as it moves into its fifth edition, as well as adapting to other variables in healthcare. This ensures that RateFast allows for the most dependable and accurate system for impairment reports.