Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Medical Decision Making / Edition 1

Medical Decision Making / Edition 1

by Harold C. Sox

See All Formats & Editions

ISBN-10: 1930513798

ISBN-13: 9781930513792

Pub. Date: 11/01/2006

Publisher: American College of Physicians

Since it was first published in 1988, Medical Decision Making has become the world-wide standard textbook for medical decision making. Written to meet the needs of medical students and experienced clinicians alike, this book is a clearly presented, step-by-step guide to understanding how, through the processes of decision analysis, a physician can reach valid,


Since it was first published in 1988, Medical Decision Making has become the world-wide standard textbook for medical decision making. Written to meet the needs of medical students and experienced clinicians alike, this book is a clearly presented, step-by-step guide to understanding how, through the processes of decision analysis, a physician can reach valid, reasoned conclusions about medical treatment despite imperfect information about the patient. The focus of Medical Decision Making is on estimating probability, measuring the inaccuracy of clinical data, and interpreting new information, then making choices: should the patient be treated, should more information be obtained, or should nothing be done? The authors make extensive use of clinical examples to illustrate Bayesian analysis, formal decision analysis, and basic concepts of how to evaluate the usefulness of diagnostic tests in various situations. The text is supplemented with many illustrations, useful end-of-chapter self-assessment questions, an appendix giving the sensitivity and specificity of nearly 100 diagnostic tests, and a selective annotated bibliography directing the reader to significant articles in the current literature.

Product Details

American College of Physicians
Publication date:
Edition description:
New Edition
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Preface to the ACP Reprint     VII
Preface to the 1988 First Edition     IX
Introduction     1
How May I Be Thorough Yet Efficient When Considering the Possible Causes of My Patient's Problems?     1
How Do I Characterize the Information I Have Gathered during the Medical Interview and Physical Examination?     1
How Do I Interpret New Diagnostic Information?     5
How Do I Select the Appropriate Diagnostic Test?     6
How Do I Choose among Several Risky Treatment Alternatives?     6
Summary     7
Differential Diagnosis     9
Introduction     9
Learning from Observations of Skilled Clinicians     10
The Process of Differential Diagnosis     12
An Extended Example     22
Summary     25
References     26
Probability: Quantifying Uncertainty     27
Uncertainty and Probability in Medicine     27
Use of Persona! Experience to Estimate Probability     34
Use of Published Experience to Estimate Probability     52
Consideration of the Special Characteristics of the Patient When Estimating Probability     60
Summary     61
Problems     62
New Words in thisChapter     64
References     64
Understanding New Information: Bayes' Theorem     67
Introduction     67
Conditional Probability Defined     71
Bayes' Theorem     71
The Odds Ratio Form of Bayes' Theorem     75
Alternative Forms of Bayes' Theorem: The Tree and the 2 X 2 Table     80
Lessons to Be Learned from Bayes' Theorem     84
The Assumption of Bayes' Theorem     91
Interpreting a Sequence of Tests     93
Using Bayes' Theorem When Many Diseases Are Under Consideration     97
Summary     98
Problems     99
New Words in this Chapter     100
References     100
Measuring the Accuracy of Clinical Data     103
How Test Results Can Be Expressed as "Abnormal" and "Normal"     103
Measures of How Well a Test Discriminates between a Disease and All Other Conditions     106
How Test Performance Is Measured: A Hypothetical Case     113
Pitfalls of Predictive Value     115
Why Measures of Test Performance May Not Apply to Your Patient     116
Combining Data from Several Studies     128
Expressing Test Results as Continuous Variables      129
Summary     138
Problems     139
New Words in this Chapter     140
References     141
Derivation of the Method for Using the ROC Curve to Choose the Definition of an Abnormal Test Result     142
Expected Value Decision Making     147
Basic Concepts of Expected Value Decision Making     148
Decision Analysis: An Introductory Example     151
Summary     165
Problem     166
New Words in this Chapter     166
Measuring the Outcome of Care     167
Measuring the Patient's Preferences: Utility Assessment     168
Estimating the Expected Length of Life     182
Measuring How Well the Patient Is Able to Function     194
Satisfaction with One's State of Health     196
Using a Linear Scale to Express Strength of Preference     196
Summary     197
Problems     198
New Words in this Chapter     199
References     199
Axioms of Utility Theory     200
Decision Making When the Outcomes Have Several Dimensions     201
Assessing the Patient's Preferences for Outcomes with Several Dimensions     202
Measuring the Patient's Utility for a Period of Time in III Health: An Introduction     206
Assessing Preferences for the Length of Life     208
The Time Trade-Off Method     216
Measuring Preferences for Any Period of Time in III Health     220
Another Method for Adjusting Life Expectancy for the Quality of Life     225
Sources of Error in Utility Assessment     230
Last Words     232
Summary     232
New Words in this Chapter     233
Problems     233
References     236
Selection and Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests     239
Taking Action When the Consequences Are Uncertain: Principles and Definitions     239
Could a Diagnostic Test Change the Treatment of the Patient?     243
The Treatment Threshold Probability     246
The Decision to Obtain a Diagnostic Test     249
Setting the Treatment Threshold Probability     257
Taking Account of the Costs and Risks of the Test     270
A Clinical Case: Test Selection for Suspected Brain Tumor     274
Sensitivity Analysis     277
Choosing among Diagnostic Tests     280
Choosing the Best Combination of Diagnostic Tests     283
Summary     285
New Words in this Chapter      289
References     289
Bedside Decision Analysis     291
A Difficult Clinical Problem: Bleeding Esophageal Varices     291
Sensitivity Analysis     301
A Decision Problem in Which Three-Way Sensitivity Analysis Was Useful     309
Conclusions     314
References     315
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis and Cost-Benefit Analysis     317
The Physician's Conflicting Roles: Patient Advocate, Member of Society, and Entrepreneur     317
Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: A Method for Comparing Management Strategies     319
Cost-Benefit Analysis: A Method for Measuring the Net Benefit of Medical Policies     328
Measuring the Costs of Medical Care     331
Summary     333
New Words in this Chapter     334
Problem     334
References     335
Test Characteristics     337
Life Table     373
Glossary     379
Answers to Problems     383
Index     399

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews