April 16, 1982

Clinical Decision Analysis

Author Affiliations

Southern California Permanente Medical Group University of California San Diego School of Medicine San Diego


by Milton C. Weinstein and Harvey V. Fineberg, 351 pp, 108 illus, $25, Philadelphia, WB Saunders Co, 1980.

JAMA. 1982;247(15):2158-2159. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320400068048

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This book teaches the physician how to use the techniques of modern decision analysis in the management of disease. It is the culmination of six years' experience by the authors at the Harvard Medical School in teaching the concepts of medical decision making to numerous medical students, residents, fellows, and practicing physicians.

In the text they show how to take a medical management problem and break it down into a series of steps, which include diagnostic tests, clinical decisions, and the possible therapeutic outcomes. The theories of probability are then applied to the various management approaches and the best strategy can be determined mathematically. While an interest in mathematics is an asset in mastering these techniques, all of the probability methods are taught from fundamentals, and a formal background is not necessary.

The authors are obviously effective teachers. The text is well organized and uses many features that make it