Erasmus Summer Programme Courses

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Fundamentals of Medical Decision Making [ESP70]

Course highlights

EC points


Start date

16 August 2021

End date

20 August 2021

Course days

Monday to Friday (5 afternoons)

Course time

From 13:00 till 16:00 CEST


Prof. John Wong

Course fee

€ 740








  • Clinical Research
  • Clinical Epidemiology
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Genetic Epidemiology
  • Health Economics
  • Methodology
  • Public Health

Course Materials

Online, download instructions will be sent before the start of the course, 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.

Calculator or spreadsheet software with laptop will be helpful for some of the in class and optional exercises

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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 uncertainty, trade-offs and values, how should patients, policymakers and clinicians decide among diagnostic and therapeutic choices to make optimal decisions? Medical interventions may have benefits but also adverse effects, e.g., undesirable complications or false or inconclusive results.

Clinical and health policy decisions necessitate weighing benefits and harms and trading off competing objectives (life expectancy, quality of life, costs). We will discuss a proactive approach involving decision analysis to integrate evidence and values for optimal and efficient care choices in the face of uncertainty.

Course content includes interpretation of clinical data and test results, testing and treatment thresholds, estimating prognosis, decision tree construction (e.g., Markov models and Monte Carlo simulations), life expectancy, quality of life assessment, cost-effectiveness analysis, health technology assessment, diagnostic reasoning, and shared decision making.

Teaching methods: Interactive lectures, breakout group discussions and exercises.

//Please note that the course information is subject to change and will be updated from time to time. We will do our utmost best to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information on this website.//


The student is able to:

  • Apply a systematic rational approach to decision making in health care
  • Experience patient-centered clinical decisions based on evidence and preferences
  • 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 in clinical care, health research, quality improvement, technology assessment, academia, health industry, or government who 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, including clinical researchers, clinical epidemiologists, decision scientists, public health or public policy researchers or administrators, those in health technology assessment or value-based healthcare.