PhD: The role of risk and time preferences and personality in clinical decision making

PhD: The role of risk and time preferences and personality in clinical decision making

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There are wide variations in clinical practice despite the increasing use of clinical guidelines. Whilst a wide range of potential determinants have been examined including patient, physician and system characteristics a relatively large part of the variation remains unexplained. This PhD will examine the role of the physician’s risk and time preferences and personality in clinical decision making. There is a small literature on the impact of physician’s risk preferences on medical decisions but most studies are small in size. The role of time preferences and personality is not well understood. A better understanding of these factors can help reduce practice variations by taking these factors into account within training and professional development. This PhD will draw on a large panel survey of physicians in Australia called "Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL)". This survey includes measures of risk preferences and personality. Variations in clinical decisions such as prescribing of new drugs, provision of certain types of care in rural areas and also litigation can be examined.

A blog post from the project, focusing on the impact of shocks on doctors' risk attitudes, was published on the HERU website in June 2020. 

PhD Student:  Xuemin Zhu

Supervisors: Marjon van der Pol (HERU); Scott, T. (Melbourne University); Allan, J. (Health Psychology, University of Aberdeen).

Presentations

Zhu, X., Scott, A., Allan, J. and Pol, M. van der (2018) 'The impact of life events on physicians’ risk attitude', PhD Student Conference in Behavioural Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland, 29 November 2018.

Zhu, X., Scott, A., Allan, J. and Pol, M. van der (2019) 'The stability of physicians’ risk attitudes', Health Economists’ Study Group (HESG) Summer Meeting 2019, University of East Anglia, Norwich, England, 3-5 July 2019.

Zhu, X., Scott, A., Allan, J. and Pol, M. van der (2019) 'The stability of physicians’ risk attitudes', European Health Economics Association (EuHEA) Student-Supervisor Conference, Católica Business School Porto, Portugal, 4-6 September 2019.

Zhu, X., Scott, A., Allan, J. and Pol, M. van der (2020) 'The role of GPs risk attitudes and personalities in the uptake of procedural or specialist services in rural areas', Health Economists' Study Group (HESG) Winter Meeting, Newcastle, England, 6-8 January 2020.