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About the Site:

This is the blog for the book Medical Decision Making: A Physician's Guide, by Alan Schwartz and George Bergus (Cambridge University Press, 2008). The book is now available from Cambridge University Press

About the Authors:

Alan Schwartz, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Medical Education and Pediatrics at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, where he teaches and conducts research on physician and patient decision making.

George Bergus, M.D., M.A. is the Dr. William and Sondra Myers Family Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and Co-Director of the Family Practice/Psychiatry Residency program. He holds a Certificate of Additional Qualification in Geriatrics.


Annual meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making

August 26th, 2007 by Alan Schwartz

The 29th annual meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making (SMDM) will be held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA on October 24-27, 2007. All the relevant detail can be found at

This is the meeting to attend if you’re interested in medical decision science; presentations typically focus on clinical applications, methodological advances in decision and cost-effectiveness analysis, psychology of medical decision making, and other key topics in clinical and health policy decision science. There are also excellent short courses in the days before the meeting, providing education on MDM topics at a variety of levels (including a course on problem solving for medical educators by George, Frank Kee, and I).

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Ethics and Decision Science

August 26th, 2007 by Alan Schwartz

Our book approaches medical decision making primarily from the standpoint of the community of clinicians, behavior scientists, and theorists who focus on the question of “how should decisions be made in order to provide the patient with the greatest health benefit?” Another group of thinkers, including clinicians, philosophers, lawyers, and patient advocates, have asked an equally important question: “how should decisions be made in order to preserve the ethical values that mean most to us as individuals and societies?” Read the rest of this entry »

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Developing diagnostic tests

August 26th, 2007 by Alan Schwartz

In many clinical decisions, the most ready source of additional information is diagnostic testing. Diagnostic tests include not only laboratory tests, but other sources of information about diagnosis, such as history and physical examination. Patients (and indeed, many physicians), however, do not understand how diagnostic tests are developed or how to determine the value of the information they provide.

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