What is the difference between an indicator and a measure?


A. You are already familiar with the idea of indicators and measures in terms of weather reports. It is hard to use a single number to describe good or bad weather. Instead, we use indicators (like wind chill factor and dew point) and measures (like barometric pressure and air temperature) to help us guide any weather-related decisions we may want to make. Measures are factors that can be directly quantified and stored as data points. Some examples are number of premature births in a year, or number of hospitalizations for heart attack in a year. Indicators are shorthand methods of describing something, often combining measurable characteristics together. Indicators can be very simple—sometimes equivalent to a single measure—or more complicated, as when measures are averaged or combined with related measures to give a broader picture of the health issue of interest. Health indicators and measures are useful in community report cards to show improvement or deterioration in health ... more
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