Rational Medical Decision Making / Edition 1

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All the key principles of medical decision-making-in one compact, case-based guide Rational Decision Making: A Case-Based Approach is a hands-on guide that clarifies the process of accurate, efficient medical decision making like no other source. Following the trusted LANGE format, this portable volume is ideal for learning the fundamentals of evidence-based medical practice and skills. Whether you are a student, resident, or a clinician, here is where you'll find all the right tools-including case studies, learning objectives, and self-assessment exercises-to take your decision making skills to the next level.

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Editorial Reviews

Doody's Review Service
Reviewer: Shaival S Shah, BS, BA (University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics)
Description: This comprehensive, case-based guide succinctly provides clear explanations of essential concepts involved in conducting and interpreting quantitative research.
Purpose: The book provides a comprehensive overview of many core principles in research design and analysis. It is logically organized, with clear learning objectives at the beginning of each chapter and pertinent examples to illustrate key concepts. The author does a wonderful job of simplifying a subject that has caused much confusion for many medical students and physicians.
Audience: The guide is intended for physicians and physicians-in-training to help them interpret clinical evidence.
Features: As a physician and a former course director for epidemiology and biostatistics, the author has a clear understanding of the needs and challenges his audience faces. He is able to clearly define statistical jargon that his readers are sure to have heard, but are likely to only vaguely understand. Additionally, for each topic, emphasis is placed upon clinical relevance.
Assessment: As a Doris Duke Clinical Research Fellow, I am in the unique position of being a medical student who has had extensive supplemental training in clinical research. This is a book that I would enthusiastically recommend to other medical students.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071463973
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/17/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

Goutham Rao, MD, Associate Professor, Departments of Pediatrics & Family Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Dr. Rao teaches the first year course Introduction to Medical Decision Making, from which this text is drawn. He is Director of Predoctoral Education, and Director of Medical Information Technology, at St Margaret’s Hospital, in addition to being on faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is also Director of the Family Medicine Yr 3 Clerkship. He is Associate Editor of ACP’s Journal Club journal, and serves on the Home Study Committee for the American Academy of Family Practice.

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Table of Contents

1 “A History Lesson”

To provide a historical perspective on the development of original medical literature as we know it today.

• History of first medical papers

• History of The Lancet

• How and why the medical literature has grown

2 “Searching for the Right Stuff”

To provide skills in searching electronic databases and other resources for the best available evidence.

• Organization of Medline

• Searching Medline

• Accessing and searching evidence-based medicine databases

• Searching the Internet for the best available evidence

3 “Anatomy of a Research Article”

To provide an overview of the structure of most original medical research articles and to describe the process through which articles are published

• Basic structure of research articles and the purpose of each component

• Principles of peer review, editorial freedom and author confidentiality

• Types of research articles and journals Three

4 A Statistics Primer

To provide an overview of essential descriptive & comparative statistics for practicing physicians

• Basic, descriptive statistics

• Normal and other distributions

• Samples & populations

• Principles of comparative statistics

• Principles underlying all tests of significance

5 Diagnostic Reasoning

To provide an overview of how doctors think about diagnosis, how diagnostic tests are developed and evaluated, and how studies about diagnostic tests should be evaluated

• Psychology of medical diagnosis

• Developing and assessing a new diagnostic test

• Tools for evaluating diagnostic tests (sensitivity, specificity, predictive values, likelihood ratios, Bayes Theorem, ROC curves)

6 Studying Therapies

To provide an overview of how new therapies are evaluated (including different research designs and summary and analysis of results)

• Elements of “sound” clinical questions

• Research designs used to evaluate new therapies (including Bayesian designs)

• Analysis of results of new therapies (p values, confidence intervals, etc.)

7 Risk & Prognosis

To provide an overview of how doctors and patients think about risk and prognosis and how risk and prognosis are systematically evaluated

• Measures of risk

• Study designs used to assess risk

• Patient preferences with respect to risk

• Measures of prognosis (i.e. survival curves, etc.)

8 Systematic Reviews

To provide an overview of the principal characteristics and usefulness of qualitative and quantitative (meta-analyses) systematic reviews.

• Definitions of qualitative & quantitative systematic reviews

• The Cochrane Collaboration

• Principles of meta-analyses

• Interpretation of systematic reviews

9 Decision Analysis To provide a basic overview of the design and interpretation of decision analyses

• Definition and purpose of decision analysis

• Interpretation of decision analyses

10 Clinical Practice Guidelines

To provide an overview of the purpose, development and use of clinical practice guidelines

• Definition and purpose of clinical practice guidelines

• Steps in development of “sound” clinical practice guidelines

• Use of guidelines to aid in patient care decisions

11 Qualitative Research

To provide an overview of qualitative methods to address questions of importance to physicians and patients

• Definition of qualitative research

• Summary of qualitative research methods

• How to use qualitative research in patient care decisions


• Answers to problems

• Glossary of terms

Estimate of total number of pages excluding index: 220
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