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Med Decis Making. 1998 Jan-Mar;18(1):95-109.

Sensitivity analysis and the expected value of perfect information.

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  • 1Defense Resources Management Institute, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California 93943-5201, USA.

Erratum in

  • Med Decis Making. 2003 Jan-Feb;23(1):97..
  • Med Decis Making 2001 May-Jun;21(3):254.


Measures of decision sensitivity that have been applied to medical decision problems were examined. Traditional threshold proximity methods have recently been supplemented by probabilistic sensitivity analysis, and by entropy-based measures of sensitivity. The authors propose a fourth measure based upon the expected value of perfect information (EVPI), which they believe superior both methodologically and pragmatically. Both the traditional and the newly suggested sensitivity measures focus entirely on the likelihood of decision change without attention to corresponding changes in payoff, which are often small. Consequently, these measures can dramatically overstate problem sensitivity. EVPI, on the other hand, incorporates both the probability of a decision change and the marginal benefit of such a change into a single measure, and therefore provides a superior picture of problem sensitivity. To lend support to this contention, the authors revisit three problems from the literature and compare the results of sensitivity analyses using probabilistic, entropy-based, and EVPI-based measures.

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