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Using Decision Analysis to Better Evaluate Pediatric Clinical Guidelines

child health

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When evaluating a clinical care intervention for its potential inclusion in clinical guidelines, many organizations consider the same three criteria: risks, benefits, and quality of the underlying evidence. A study from researchers at Tufts Medical Center suggests something different when evaluating interventions: decision analysis. By synthesizing information from multiple studies and focusing on a range of potential net benefits, decision analysis can be useful for creating pediatric clinical guidelines, the authors say. Decision analysis is particularly well-suited for child health care because pediatric health measures can be spread over long periods of time and large populations, making traditional sources of information, like randomized controlled trials (RCTs), problematic. Because it can incorporate other kinds of evidence—for example, observational studies or expert judgment—decision analysis can help determine the benefits of a pediatric intervention and whether there is sufficient compelling evidence to adopt it. Decision analysis also can consider factors that may be outside the scope of RCTs, like quality and length of life and the intervention’s economic cost. The authors suggest that organizations that promote pediatric care guidelines should consider incorporating elements of decision analysis.

Publication Details



J. T. Cohen and P. J. Neumann, "Using Decision Analysis to Better Evaluate Pediatric Clinical Guidelines," Health Affairs, September/October 2008 27(5):1467–75.