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Decision Analysis

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Decision analysis is the art and science of informing difficult decisions. It has a long and varied history, with roots in economics, business, psychology, engineering, and other fields. It is inherently multidisciplinary, especially with regard to analyses that involve the health of individuals or populations. Decision analysis can be used to inform clinical, health funding, or policy decisions.

The basic steps in decision analysis are universal to most rational and systematic decision-making processes. Briefly, a problem is defined, including the decision situation and context. Objectives, based on what the different stakeholders (participants in the decision) value or deem important, are defined and quantitative measures or scales (i.e., ‘attributes’) are determined. Alternative choices are defined. The problem is then modeled, using ‘expected value’ methods (described later), and ...

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