autumn 2012

HEL-3050 Clinical epidemiology and decision analysis - 10 stp

Last changed: 16.11.2012

The course is administrated by

The course is administrated by

Faculty of Health Sciences
Type of course

Type of course

This course is open to course students as well as programme students.
Admission requirements

Admission requirements

Recommended prerequisite: HEL-3006 Introduction to Epidemiology and Biostatistics. Admission criteria: Basic medical statistics (HEL-1002 or equivalent) Other: The same as for the Master's programme in Public Health. See the programme page. Application Code: 9371
Course contents

Course contents

- Medical decision making

- Methods for measuring agreement, Altman-plot, Kappa-statistics

- The relation technical characteristics, sensitivity, specificity and predictive values

- Prevalence and case-mix

- Diagnostics and outcome. Logistic regresssion in evaluation of diagnostic methods

- Bayes¿ theorem

- Likelihood ratio for levels of test results

- Comparing tests, ROC-curves

- Multiple testing

- Conditional independence

- Deciding clinic usefulness of diagnostic tests

- Screening

- Randomised clinical trials

- Meta-analyses

Objective of the course

Objective of the course

After finishing the course, the students should have an extended understanding of medical decision making.

They should be familiar with the problems related to multiple testing and conditional independence between tests, and be able to use likelihood ratio in multiple levels of a variable.

They should know principles for evaluating effects of different cut-off-values, and methods for analysing inter- and intraobserver agreement, including use of kappa-statistics.

The students should also be aware of case-mix-effects in medical testing.


- Be able to explain the principles of medical decision analysis.

- Be able to explain the relationship between prevalence and diagnostic features, and identify problems related to multiple testing and to dependence between tests.

- Know methods for describing and analyzing inter-and intra-observer agreement.

- Be able to identify the effects of case mix on the test characteristics

- Be able to explain the data sources and the principal methods for the analysis of availability, consumption and quality of health services


- be able to apply decision tree on medical problems

- be able to apply kappa statistics on medical problems

- be able to apply likelihood ratio, including likelihood ratio of various levels of test results

- be able to apply Bayes theorem on simpler medical problems

Language of instruction

Language of instruction

Teaching methods

Teaching methods

There are 3 student gatherings during the course, lasting 3, 2 and 3 days, respectively.

Attendance to the gatherings are mandatory.

The teaching will be given as lectures, seminars and group works with individual presentations and plenary discussions.

During the periods between the gatherings, the students are expected to get a deeper understanding of relevant topics by studying given textbook chapters and scientific literature.

The teaching will be given in English.



Obligatory assignment:

In the period between first and second student-gathering, and between second and third student-gathering, the students must write individual obligatory hand-in exercises on given topics. The assignments are given as individual exercises to be solved at home. The answer paper on each exercise should be maximum 2200 words in length. A minimum of six days will be given to write the assignments. Each student will receive a short written evaluation of the answers to the two assignments.

There will not be given a separate grades on these exercises.

They will be evaluated as passed or not passed.

The student must pass both hand-in exercises before they can start writing on the final course examination.

Assignments to be handed in on Fronter.


The grade for the course will be based on a final home examination.

The home examination will consist of several questions regarding given topics.

It will take place some days after the third student gathering.

The answers are to be given in writing, and the students have to give individual answers.

There will be at least 8 days between the presentation of an assignment to deadline for handing in the answer.

The answers should be max. ten pages long (4-5000 words).

The student will hand in the exam paper on Fronter.

The assignments and exam can be answered in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale: A-E equals passed, F equals failed.

For failed students a re-sit examination will be arranged for this course.

Students with valid absence from exam will be offered a re-scheduled examination.

See also examination regulations:

Date for examination

Date for examination

Take home assignment Frist innlevering: 13.12.2012

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced at your faculty early in May and early in November.



Recommended reading/syllabus

Recommended reading/syllabus

Will be made available ahead of the lectures.
Lectures Autumn 2012
Timetable has been published
Forelesninger Prof. Ragnar Hotvedt
Ass. prof. Bjørn Kåre Straume
Prof. Olav Helge Førde