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Introducing: The Decision Science Group

Human decisions and behaviors represent "final common pathways" for nearly all health care interventions. To achieve their potential to improve patient outcomes, interventions must be adopted by health care organizations, clinicians, and patients. In turn, how each group makes decisions will affect how health care interventions ultimately impact care.

This is why, in collaboration with colleagues across UW, we are launching the Decision Science Group (DSG): because we believe that leaders can use intersectional insight from decision-making sciences to strengthen the connection between health care interventions and patient outcomes.

The remainder of this post introduces the DSG: why it exists, who comprises it, what it does. Those interested in learning more about the Group are invited to visit the DSG page here. We hope that many of you will engage or follow along as the Group expands its portfolio in 2021!

Why the DSG Exists

To use intersectional insight from the science of decision-making to strengthen the connection between health care interventions and patient outcomes.

Who DSG Members Are

The DSG reflects a group of individuals from inside and outside of health care, including clinicians from different specialties (e.g., medicine, surgery), researchers (e.g., in the areas of health services, care delivery, and clinical outcomes), and decision science experts (e.g., scholars in areas such as marketing and behavioral economics). Core members include faculty in the UW School of Medicine, UW School of Public Health, and UW Foster School of Business.

What the DSG Does

The DSG seeks to bridge research, education, and implementation related to health care decision-making. It does so by fostering a community of individuals with shared interests in health care decisions and behaviors.

Research & Implementation. In research & implementation, the DSG facilitates collaborative projects that can take one or more of the following forms:​

  • Theoretical Validation. This work involves early testing of decision science principles as they apply to health care topics. There is a need for these activities because many decision or behavioral science principles have either not yet been applied to health care, or not yet applied to specific areas or decisions within health care. The goal of this work is generate foundational insight that can then be tested in real-world settings.

  • Intervention Design. This work involves designing interventions using decision science principles. The goal is to increase the likelihood that any given interventions can best support the intended organizational, clinician, and/or patient decisions.

  • Pragmatic Testing. This work involves collaborating with partners to deploy interventions -- ideally designed with decision science principles in mind -- in real-world clinical or other settings.

  • Rigorous Evaluation. This work involves using both quantitative and qualitative methods to understand the intended and unintended impacts of health interventions. Quantitative work includes the application of advanced regression and quasi-experimental analyses of existing datasets. Qualitative work includes the use of interviews and other methods to conduct formative assessments of new or emerging decision-making phenomena.

Education. In its educational mission, the DSG offers mentorship and didactics to learners in health care -- students, residents, fellows, and post-docs -- across different home home specialties and disciplines. This cross-training augments the education that learners receive in their home departments and programs.


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