Analysis and support of clinical decision making

Principal investigators

Dr M.E. van den Akker-van Marle, Dr L. van Bodegom-Vos, Dr W.B. van den Hout, Prof.Dr J. Kievit, Dr P.J. Marang-v.d. Mheen, Dr A.H. Pieterse, Dr J.K. Sont, Prof.Dr A.M. Stiggelbout

Aim and focus

The research program “Analysis and support of clinical decision making” aims at rationalizing and improving the decision making process in health care, as well as improving patient outcome as a consequence. The research program is highly interdisciplinary and is positioned at the cross roads of decision analysis, (decision) psychology, epidemiology and statistics, quality of care research, information technology and medical ethics. Four focus areas can be discerned:

  1. Decision analysis and cost effectiveness analysis
  2. Patient preference and quality of life
  3. Quality of care- and outcomes research
  4. Decision psychology

In on-going research, these different methodological foci are not mutually exclusive but do support and strengthen one another, and are the basis for innovative ideas. The multidisciplinary nature of the research is reflected in the backgrounds of the senior staff; biomedical research/clinical epidemiology (2x), epidemiology/quality of life research (1), health economics (2), psychology (1) and surgery-decision analysis (1). The group has close collaborations with many departments at the LUMC, as well with national and international research groups. Many of the research projects are externally funded by ZonMw, Dutch Cancer Society, Netherlands Asthma Foundation, Kidney Foundation, and others.

Position in international context

The highly multidisciplinary nature of the research group is a key to the group’s innovative and successful research, and is unique, both nationally and internationally. The group is recognized both within the (inter)national medical decision making research community, as in the neighbouring fields (such as surgery, health care research, oncology, pulmonology) where practical medical or health care problems are addressed.

Content / highlights / achievements

The researchers of the MDM group have been very successful in obtaining funding. With the focus on (self) management of chronic disease (e.g. asthma), projects are being funded by ZonMw and the Netherlands Asthma Foundation, and the innovative nature and high quality was rewarded by the NICTIZ Spider Award for the most innovative ICT-project in health care in 2006. Broadening the health economics expertise has been directly successful, as is demonstrated by the funding of projects by the ZonMw Health Care Efficiency Program and of a top-down project by the Health Care Insurance Board. These projects draw inspiration from a VIDI-project as well as several Dutch Cancer Society grants on patient preferences. Research on quality and safety in health care has likewise led to several externally funded projects.

Future themes

The existing research will be expanded into new areas of quality of care research and patient safety, implementation research, health care performance indicators, health risk assessment and prevention, risk communication, and patient decision support. Research in these fields will profit from new or intensified collaboration with many partners, among which the Department of Medical Statistics, the Department of Public Health and Primary Care and its research network, the NFU Working Party on Performance Indicators, IQ-Healthcare, and others.

Cohesion within LUMC

MDM (-supported) research takes place in close collaboration with many departments within the LUMC, in particular with the Departments of Clinical Oncology, Endocrinology, ENT, Gynaecology, Nephrology, Neurosurgery, Psychiatry, Public Health and Primary Care, Pulmonology, Surgery, and others. The department of Medical Decision Making and its collaborating partners have therefore been positioned as a theme group.