Decision analysis

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An example of a decision tree for a decision analysis.

Decision analysis is a formal method for modeling complex decisions in order to quantitatively compare choices.[1][2][3][4][5]

A decision tree is a "graphic device used in decision analysis, series of decision options are represented as branches (hierarchical)."[6]

An example of a decision analysis used in health care addresses screening for colorectal cancer.[7]

Decision analyses may be able to predict the results of subsequent randomized controlled trials.[8]

The use of decision analysis may improve the validity of clinical practice guidelines.[9]


Guidelines on interpreting a decision analysis in health care are available.[10][11]

Methods for teaching understanding of decision analysis have been developed.[12]


  1. Thornton JG, Lilford RJ, Johnson N (April 1992). "Decision analysis in medicine". BMJ (Clinical research ed.) 304 (6834): 1099–103. PMID 1530694. PMC 1881931[e] PubMed Central
  2. Kassirer JP, Moskowitz AJ, Lau J, Pauker SG (February 1987). "Decision analysis: a progress report". Annals of Internal Medicine 106 (2): 275–91. PMID 3541727[e]
  3. Sox HC (January 1987). "Decision analysis: a basic clinical skill?". The New England Journal of Medicine 316 (5): 271–2. PMID 3796704[e]
  4. Pauker SG, Kassirer JP (January 1987). "Decision analysis". The New England Journal of Medicine 316 (5): 250–8. PMID 3540670[e]
  5. Fineberg, Harvey V.; Weinstein, Milton C. (1980). Clinical decision analysis. Philadelphia: Saunders. ISBN 0-7216-9166-8. 
  6. Anonymous (2015), Decision tree (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
  7. Zauber AG, Lansdorp-Vogelaar I, Knudsen AB, Wilschut J, van Ballegooijen M, Kuntz KM (October 2008). "Evaluating Test Strategies for Colorectal Cancer Screening: A Decision Analysis for the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force". Annals of internal medicine. PMID 18838717[e]
  8. Bress JN, Hulgan T, Lyon JA, Johnston CP, Lehmann H, Sterling TR (2007). "Agreement of decision analyses and subsequent clinical studies in infectious diseases.". Am J Med 120 (5): 461.e1-9. DOI:10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.08.032. PMID 17466659. PMC PMC1909755. Research Blogging.
  9. Kuntz KM, Tsevat J, Weinstein MC, Goldman L (1999). "Expert panel vs decision-analysis recommendations for postdischarge coronary angiography after myocardial infarction.". JAMA 282 (23): 2246-51. PMID 10605977.
  10. Richardson WS, Detsky AS (April 1995). "Users' guides to the medical literature. VII. How to use a clinical decision analysis. A. Are the results of the study valid? Evidence-Based Medicine Working Group". JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association 273 (16): 1292–5. DOI:10.1001/jama.1995.03520400062046. PMID 7715043. Research Blogging.
  11. Richardson WS, Detsky AS (1995). "Users' guides to the medical literature. VII. How to use a clinical decision analysis. B. What are the results and will they help me in caring for my patients? Evidence Based Medicine Working Group". JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association 273 (20): 1610–3. DOI:10.1001/jama.1995.03520440064038. PMID 7745775. Research Blogging.
  12. Lee A, Joynt GM, Ho AM, Keitz S, McGinn T, Wyer PC (May 2009). "Tips for teachers of evidence-based medicine: making sense of decision analysis using a decision tree". J Gen Intern Med 24 (5): 642–8. DOI:10.1007/s11606-009-0918-8. PMID 19247720. PMC 2669856. Research Blogging.

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