July 1973

Measuring the Effectiveness of Medical Decisions: An Operations Research Approach.

Author Affiliations

Washington, DC


By Shlomo Barnoon, PhD, and Harvey Wolfe, PhD. Price, $28. Pp 229. Charles C Thomas Publisher, 301-327 E Lawrence Ave, Springfield, IL 62703, 1972.

Arch Intern Med. 1973;132(1):141-142. doi:10.1001/archinte.1973.03650070127031

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This book calls attention to the general techniques of "Operations Research" as they may apply to the problems of decision-making in clinical medicine. It is important for modern physicians to be aware of these powerful tools that are available to aid in handling of medical information. It is important, also, to delineate the kind of objective decision models that may some day replace the subjective reasoning of physicians.

While we are quick to share these expectations, we are disappointed to find that the authors show us little new hope for their realization. On the contrary, their arguments give fresh emphasis to the limitations and obstacles that so widely separate the practice of medicine from the field of mathematical analysis.

Obviously, this book is not intended as a practical reference for medical students or practitioners of medicine. We should not, therefore, criticize its lack of relevance to common clinical topics. Many

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