Erasmus Summer Programme Courses

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Fundamentals of Medical Decision Making [ESP70]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date

12 August 2019

End date

16 August 2019

Course days

Monday to Friday (5 afternoons)

Course time

From 13:00 till 16:00


Prof. John Wong

Course fee

€ 710


Erasmus MC, Rotterdam NL






  • Clinical Research
  • Clinical Epidemiology

Course Materials

Online, download instructions will be sent in August by e-mail.

Recommended book: Hunink MGM, Weinstein MC, Wittenberg E, Drummond MF, Pliskin JS, Wong JB, Glasziou PP. Decision making in health and medicine. Integrating evidence and values. 2d Ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2014. ISBN-10: 1107690471 ISBN-13: 978-1107690479 ASIN: B00N4PLW5A

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Detailed information about this course:


Faculty: Prof. John Wong, MD

This course will provide an introduction to health care decision making. Given the uncertainty, trade-offs and values that are involved, how should patients, policymakers and clinicians navigate through a complex and tangled web of diagnostic and therapeutic choices, patient preferences, and resource constraints to make optimal decisions? Medical interventions may have benefits but also adverse effects, e.g., surgery may lead to undesirable complications, and diagnostic technologies may produce false or inconclusive results.

In many clinical and health policy decisions it is necessary to counterbalance benefits and harms and to trade off competing objectives such as maximizing life expectancy vs. optimizing quality of life vs. minimizing the resources required. In this course we will discuss a proactive approach to such decisions and discuss the basic concepts underlying decision analysis in order to integrate evidence and values for optimal and efficient care choices in the face of uncertainty. Topics include diagnostic reasoning, test interpretation, treatment thresholds, test-treat thresholds, estimating life expectancy, quality of life assessment, health technology, decision models and cost-effectiveness analysis.

Teaching methods: Interactive lectures, exercises and practicums.


The student is able to:

  • Apply a systematic rational approach to decision making in health care
  • Recognize the role of uncertainty in testing and treatment decisions
  • Assess, value and weigh benefits and harms in medical decision making
  • Describe how to consider economic costs in health care policy decisions

Participant profile

Those interested in learning how to improve the process by which medical decisions are made in clinical practice for individuals and in health policy for populations.