Hospital admission rates are often shown and interpreted without consideration of their inherent variability, which may lead to faulty conclusions. This may be because theoretically correct variance estimates are not known for the type of estimates usually used; i.e., total admissions divided by total person-months of observation. Here, correct methods for testing and estimation are shown for situations where they exist. For other types of data, approximate procedures are proposed and their properties examined theoretically and empirically, yielding recommendations for exact and approximate estimation and testing methods for admission rates in common situations.



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