Graphical representation of life paths to better convey results of decision models to patients

Stefania Rubrichi, Carla Rognoni, Lucia Sacchi, Enea Parimbelli, Carlo Napolitano, Andrea Mazzanti, Silvana Quaglini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The inclusion of patients' perspectives in clinical practice has become an important matter for health professionals, in view of the increasing attention to patient-centered care. In this regard, this report illustrates a method for developing a visual aid that supports the physician in the process of informing patients about a critical decisional problem. In particular, we focused on interpretation of the results of decision trees embedding Markov models implemented with the commercial tool TreeAge Pro. Starting from patient-level simulations and exploiting some advanced functionalities of TreeAge Pro, we combined results to produce a novel graphical output that represents the distributions of outcomes over the lifetime for the different decision options, thus becoming a more informative decision support in a context of shared decision making. The training example used to illustrate the method is a decision tree for thromboembolism risk prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-402
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Apr 20 2015


  • Markov models
  • Monte Carlo simulation
  • risk communication
  • shared decision-making
  • time-based reporting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Medicine(all)


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