page sections

  • introduction
  • what goes into decisions
  • evidence-based decisions
  • resources and references


last authored:
last reviewed:



This section will benefit from a number of commentaries about treatment decisions - videos about expert clinicians discussing how to provide the best patient care through treatments.



Treatment Options

Evidence-based medicine has us moving strongly towards algorithms and flow charts to decide what, if any, interventions are to be used. Alone, this threatens to reduce the input of the art of medicine, as well as the importance of patient choice. A significant role of health care providers in the future will thus be to explore the evidence, discuss this with patient and family, and collectively decide on a course of action.




Individuals, or populations?

Interventions can be done at individual or population levels.

Population-based interventions have the capacity to result in substantial improvements, but are often not done. However, they are not implemented very frequently, and their cost effectiveness is often not known. The WHO's CHOICE project (CHoosing Interventions that are Cost-Effective)

Policy makers need to compare costs and effectiveness.


Designing interventions for those most at risk has its advantages. This 'absolute risk approach' is targeted.


Often it is a matter of choice - does someone want this drug, or not? - but perhaps more important are the options we, as policy makers and health care providers, offer to people. Few turn down free vaccines, for example.