Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science




Eric D. Smith


Modeling representations of complex systems useful for the examination of changes that occur in any part or whole of these systems must allow for the performance of a requisite variety of essential analyses, in order to cover decision contingencies that have the potential to sway outcomes to extreme values. The purpose of sophisticated modeling techniques is to make the model as realistic a reflection of the real world as possible, considering all constraints of available data, analyst time availability, and computational resources needed to evaluate the model. The fundamental purpose of decision making methods is to create a quantitative representation of different choices which enable incorporation of uncertainties and different representations of the decision maker's preferences for various possible outcomes. Decision analysis can validate scenarios regarding decisions, help to compare choices quantitatively, allow for rapid assessment of the effects of variations in assumptions on the optimal choice, and provide a mechanism for evaluating a given decision along various outcome dimensions like survival expectancy, performance and costs.

Models for complex healthcare decisions must incorporate consideration for the usual multiplicity of important factors, interacting feedback loops among these factors, and the dynamic nature of the full diagnostic arena. A diagnoses modeling technique that has the requisite variety of relevant considerations is presented. The technique has the potential to overcome mandatory time criteria, while considering the competence and robustness of high importance diagnostic decisions. In this study, descriptive narratives dictated by examining physicians who were directly involved in the diagnosis and treatment of patients were examined in detail not only to extract key factors involved in medical decision making processes, but also to illustrate the wide ontological origin of key decision making factors. Important factors in the narratives were identified and mapped with a new System Dynamics methodology that incorporates a Zachman Framework for establishing the overall scope and context of the full medical decision making context within the modern medical enterprise.




Received from ProQuest

File Size

89 pages

File Format


Rights Holder

Bharath Bhushan Dantu