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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Stephen J. Spann, MD (Baylor College of Medicine)
Description: This is a brief, concise, simple, and readable introduction to the science of clinical decision making.
Purpose: The goal is to teach medical decision analysis to clinicians so that they can use it in practice. This is a worthwhile objective, and the author goes a long way towards meeting it.
Audience: This book is written for clinicians and will be useful to students, residents, and practitioners alike. Although not widely published in the field of clinical decision making, the author appears to be knowledgeable about the subject.
Features: This book is an introduction to the principles of medical decision making: the concepts of probability and uncertainty; harms, improvement, and benefit of treatments; treatment thresholds — principles of diagnostic testing; and introduction to decision trees are all presented. Simple, practical, intuitive explanations of the basic concepts of medical decision making are presented. This strength is also one of the weaknesses: some of the concepts are oversimplified, and the author uses some terms in an unconventional manner.
Assessment: The author presents difficult concepts in a practical and understandable manner. The subject matter is covered in less depth than in other textbooks such as Sox's Medical Decision Making (Butterworth Heinemann, 1988). Still, this book should serve as a good introductory manual to the subject for students, residents, and practicing physicians.