Decision-Making and Risk

LocationCavendish, Central London
FacultyScience and Technology

A decision arises in a situation where an individual (or a group of individuals) has to choose a course of actions between more than one alternative or option in order to end uncertainty or confusion about values of the outcomes. For instance, a local authority, that intends to commission a care provider to place persons with long–term care conditions will have to make a decision (such as selecting one among a number of care providers) that ensures patient satisfaction and contains costs.

In fact, decision-making can be quite challenging. The decision-maker might have to satisfy multiple and often conflicting criteria (for example building a new hospital should be in location A or B based on cost, environment and transport facilities). There could also be multiple decision layers (i.e. the sequence of decisions) (for example, the decision of selecting a care provider might impact on the contract duration and the number of places commissioned). The decision-maker could also operate under risk (for example, a risk of stock shortage of medicines or blood pack can worsen a patient’s health condition).

Each situation requires a different decision-making approach and tools to evaluate the alternatives. Operational research/statistical methods facilitate decision-making and enable decision-makers to avoid poor decisions.

This course provides an introduction to models and methods that can help and inform those decisions.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for those engaged in, or supporting, commissioning or provision of health and social care in order to make them appreciate the range of decision-making methods that can help them understand and solve real-life problems.

To take part, you will need mathematical skills, including simple algebraic manipulation, and some understanding of basic statistical techniques.

Dates Duration Price  
We run this course on request for a number of people. Please register your interest. 1 day


Register your interest

Course content

 What about decision making?

  • context: the health and social care system
  • general concepts
  • types of decision model
  • the decision-making process

 How to display a decision problem?

  • decision table
  • decision tree
  • influence diagram

Monte-Carlo simulation

  • What is Monte-Carlo simulation?
  • How does it work?

Multi-criteria decision-making

  • multi-criteria scoring model
  • analytic hierarchy process
  • hands-on session: modelling a walk-in centre using Palisade Decision Tools (@RISK)

At the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • understand how modelling can support decision making and the limitations of these approaches
  • be able to construct decision trees and assess expected value
  • understand how risk might influence decisions
  • understand the use of multi-criteria decision-making approaches in simple examples

Salma Chahed

Salma Chahed (MEng, MSc, PhD) is Senior Lecturer and member of the Health and Social Care Modelling Group (HSCMG) at the University of Westminster. She has been involved in research and consultancy-based projects related to forecasting NHS continuing health care demand, profiling patients, modelling the capacity of a neonatal care unit, modelling home care services, planning production and distribution of anti-cancer drugs and modelling urgent care centres. She has experience in teaching operations research, simulation modelling, and production and operations management at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She is involved in the organisation and delivery of short courses dedicated to health and social care decision-makers such as service redesign using simulation, decision-making and risk, predictive modelling, forecasting and health-care operations management.

Contact us

Faculty of Science and Technology

Verena Bogner
Programme Administrator

+44 (0)20 7911 5000 ext 69529