Use of Formal Methods in Medical Decision Making

Posted: 8 Jan 2009

See all articles by Ulf Böckenholt

Ulf Böckenholt

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management

Elke U. Weber

Princeton University - Department of Psychology

Date Written: January 5, 2009

Abstract

Apparent low usage of formal decision techniques by general clinicians has raised questions about dissemination methods and about the techniques' perceived usefulness. Two literature searches examined whether use of formal decision techniques among clinicians had indeed failed to increase from the 1970s to the 1980s. A general MEDLINE search for the period 1983-87 relative to 1973-77 indicated that usage of formal decision techniques had more than doubled. This increase, however, was due to increased coverage of formal decision techniques in specialist methods journals. A manual search of seven major clinical journals and a MEDLINE search restricted to the clinical journals of the manual search disclosed no increase in overall usage for the same time periods. MEDLINE detected only a small subset of the actual instances of formal method usage found by the manual search. Individual medical subspecialties were found to utilize different formal decision techniques to different degrees. The authors suggest interventions that may increase the usage of formal decision techniques among general clinicians.

Keywords: decision analysis, decision automation, decision trees, Bayes' theorem, sensitivity analysis, ROC analysis, formal modeling

Suggested Citation

Böckenholt, Ulf and Weber, Elke U., Use of Formal Methods in Medical Decision Making (January 5, 2009). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1323465

Ulf Böckenholt

McGill University - Desautels Faculty of Management ( email )

1001 Sherbrooke St. West
Montreal, Quebec H3A1G5 H3A 2M1
Canada

Elke U. Weber (Contact Author)

Princeton University - Department of Psychology

Green Hall
Princeton, NJ 08540
United States

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