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Medical Decision Making


  • 30 b/w illus. 22 tables
  • Page extent: 232 pages
  • Size: 234 x 156 mm
  • Weight: 0.4 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521697699)

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$82.99 (G)

Decision making is a key activity, perhaps the most important activity, in the practice of healthcare. Although physicians acquire a great deal of knowledge and specialised skills during their training and through their practice, it is in the exercise of clinical judgement and its application to individual patients that the outstanding physician is distinguished. This has become even more relevant as patients become increasingly welcomed as partners in a shared decision making process. This book translates the research and theory from the science of decision making into clinically useful tools and principles that can be applied by clinicians in the field. It considers issues of patient goals, uncertainty, judgement, choice, development of new information, and family and social concerns in healthcare. It helps to demystify decision theory by emphasizing concepts and clinical cases over mathematics and computation.


Foreword; Preface; 1. Goals and objectives; 2. Components of health; 3. The overall health state; 4. Quality and quantity; 5. Embracing uncertainty; 6. Chance and choice; 7. Confidence; 8. Visualizing decisions; 9. The power of information; 10. Screening and testing; 11. Family matters; 12. Public health; 13. Social values; Appendix.


"A thoughtful exposition of the breadth of the medical decision issues to which the analyses of decision theory have often been applied. The authors' approach to medical decision making ensures that readers from different backgrounds understand the concepts by expressing them in words, elaborated with concrete numerical examples and graphs, instead of expecting symbolic formulas to communicate....This book has the potential for teaching practicing physicians to make good decisions and to make decisions well."
--Doody's Review Service

"This book successfully sensitizes the reader to important components of patients’ decisions. The author provides several questionnaires and visual tools that could realistically be adapted to busy clinical practices. As promised, the authors offer succinct explanations of some of the more technical aspects of outcomes valuation and prediction, and formal decision analysis. Of particular value, and unlike similar texts, this book offers many nonquantitative ways to assess patients’ values and preferences."
--Annals of Internal Medicine

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