Improving clinical guidelines with logic and decision-table techniques: Application to hepatitis immunization recommendations

R. N. Shiffman, R. A. Greenes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

61 Scopus citations


Clinical practice guidelines can be clarified, verified, and simplified by the use of logical analysis and the application of decision-table techniques. This methodology is applied to a CDC guideline for the prevention of perinatal transmission of hepatitis B by immunization. Relevant clinical variables are identified and possible values for each variable are defined. An exhaustive enumeration of value combinations is generated. Logically impossible combinations are identified and eliminated. The guideline's recommendations are next translated into a set of rules and compared with the remaining value combinations. Variable combinations that are not covered by guideline recommendations represent incomplete guideline specifications. Inconsistency can be identified by finding identical condition sets in two or more rules. The procedure demonstrates that the hepatitis guideline is incomplete. Logical analysis can improve the quality of clinical practice guidelines by assuring comprehensiveness and consistency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)245-254
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 13 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy

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