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Statistics for Health Care Management and Administration by David A. Rosenthal, John F. Kros

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Chapter 5Basic Concepts of Probability

Probability is just a formal way of referring to chance. If, for example, we were to flip a coin, we would know that there is some chance that it will come up heads and, by implication, some chance that it will come up tails. We know, in general, that this chance is fifty-fifty for either heads or tails occurring. But we also know that there is no certainty at all to the way the coin will come up. If the coin is flipped in what any of us would think of as the normally appropriate way, we are pretty sure that the resulting head or tail will have come up totally by chance or, in statistical terms, randomly. This random occurrence of heads or tails makes the result of a coin flip conform to what statisticians call a stochastic process. Simply put, a stochastic process is one for which any result has a certain probability of occurrence. In this case, the probability of any result of the flip of a single ...

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