Risk, Risk Analysis and Decision-making with Reference to Biostatistics and the Field of Medicine

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: Risk, risk analysis and decision-making are essential aspects of health care andmedicine, for patients as well as for physicians and for society as a whole, andthe concept of risk and risk analysis in decision-making has a long history. Theword risk has many different interpretations and has no commonly accepteddefinition. In this thesis, we shall let risk stand for the combination of randomor uncertain events with negative consequences for human health, life and/orwelfare and/or the environment together with some measures of the likelihoodof such events. We believe this is the dominant concept and understanding ofrisk, the risk being the likelihood or probability of an event followed by somenegative consequences or activities of that event.In this doctoral thesis, we focus on biostatistics, risks and risk analysis in thefield of medicine, a science which has been using methods from the area of riskanalysis for a long time. The seven papers (paper I - paper VII) presented inthis thesis, together with a general introduction to risk, risk analysis anddecision-making, will be used to illustrate and discuss risk analysis as a tool fordecision-making in the field of medicine. From my point a view, risk analysisin the field of medicine aims to reduce pain, raise the quality of life, reduce therisk of adverse events, compare cost efficiency between different treatmentregimes and prolong a healthy life. Based on results presented in the thesis, weconclude that biostatistics, risks and risk analysis used in the field of medicineare valuable methods for evaluation of hypotheses within the health care areaand a good basis for decision-making.