Models vs. Experts #5: Health Care Protocol

/Models vs. Experts #5: Health Care Protocol

Models vs. Experts #5: Health Care Protocol

By | 2017-08-18T17:00:22+00:00 May 11th, 2013|Behavioral Finance|1 Comment

Experience with a computerized interactive protocol system using HELP

  • Cannon, S. R., & Gardner, R. M.
  • Computers in Biomedical Research,13, 399-409.
  • A version of the paper can be found here.
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A computerized, interactive audit and decision making system based on the HELP system is proposed for non-physician providers in ambulatory health care. Four protocols were implemented: upper respiratory-ear, nose, and throat; urinary tract infection; chronic hypertension; and chronic diabetes. Two physicians’ assistants used the system for 175 patient encounters. Data entry error rates (1%) were significantly less than those of paper protocols, For the upper respiratory, ear, nose, and throat protocol, I I percent of the encounters resulted in physician referrals with one false-negative and four false-positive decisions. False-positive antibiotic therapy decisions by assistants were safely reduced. Patient acceptance of the automated self-history was good. No alienation of the assistants was noted. Less than two minutes per patient terminal time was required by the assistants.


The authors study paper-based protocol tools vs. computerized protocol tools. Paper-based protocols are fixed, prone to human error, and alienate physician assistants. Computer-based protocol algorithms are dynamic, more sophisticated, and more accruate (PA alienation is still an issue–ie, “What, a computer can do my job?”) . An example computerized logic system that tells PAs what to do:


Prediction Highlight:

There isn’t much in this paper about comparing human vs computer predictions. This is a paper more focused on showing that integrating computers into the decision making process makes human more efficient and accurate. However, this is one table comparing antibiotic treatment decisions by the humans and the machine. In the words of the authors:

In comparing the decisions to perform a throat culture with the actual culture outcomes (Table II), a slightly higher success rate was noted from the computerized protocol.


Strategy Summary:

The use of computerized algorithms increases efficiency and efficacy.

Thoughts on the paper?

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About the Author:

Wes Gray
After serving as a Captain in the United States Marine Corps, Dr. Gray earned a PhD, and worked as a finance professor at Drexel University. Dr. Gray’s interest in bridging the research gap between academia and industry led him to found Alpha Architect, an asset management that delivers affordable active exposures for tax-sensitive investors. Dr. Gray has published four books and a number of academic articles. Wes is a regular contributor to multiple industry outlets, to include the following: Wall Street Journal, Forbes,, and the CFA Institute. Dr. Gray earned an MBA and a PhD in finance from the University of Chicago and graduated magna cum laude with a BS from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.