Show Summary Details
Page of

Clinical decision-making 

Clinical decision-making
Clinical decision-making

Timothy E.A. Peto

, and Philippa Peto

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 27 February 2021

Clinicians make decisions at every stage of the patient pathway. In routine practice complex decisions are often made rapidly using ‘intuition’ or common sense, but this can lead to suboptimal management plans. Clinical decision analysis is a way of formalizing the logical process behind decision-making, and when combined with evidence from medical research is described as the practice of evidence-based medicine. In practice, most clinicians do not have the time, intellectual energy, or training to perform a formal clinical decision analysis and they tend to use short cuts and go for the ‘safe’ decision which is suitable for the ‘average patient’ and often in keeping with guidelines for local practice. However, clinicians who follow the logical process of clinical decision analysis find it easier to live with the uncertainty of an inexact science and subjective wishes of the patient.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.