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Decision-Making in Health Care

Decision-Making in Health Care

Importance of Sound Decision-Making in Health Care and the Potential Consequences of Poor or Uniformed Decision-Making

There are various reasons why sound decision-making is important in health care. Firstly, decisions in healthcare drive the actions and outcomes of the care provided. This means that sound decision-making in a leader is important as it ensures that the patient’s needs and preferences are met. Sound decision-making in health care is also important for health leaders as it enables them to assess and understand the risks associated with making poor decisions that can compromise the quality and safety of care and cause patient harm. Sound decision-making is also important as it opens the leaders to various options and enables them to select the most rational option. Additionally, sound decision-making is essential for determining the right patient treatment, including choosing medications for better patient outcomes (Manetti, 2019).

On the other hand, leaders’ door decision-making may lead to staff demotivation and risks compromising the quality of care services provided. Leaders making uninformed decisions may result in trial and error, a risk factor for poor performance, or a failure in the leadership to inspire motivated healthcare teams. Poor decisions may also compromise the ability of the leader to create an environment of collaboration, therefore, failure to tap into and utilize the potential of interprofessional collaborative teams. Therefore, poor and uninformed decisions can fail healthcare leadership.

Evidence-Based Decision-Making and Its Application and Importance in Health Care

Evidence-based decision-making (EBDM) is using current factual information and data as well as research-informed approaches to make decisions or choose between options in a given case or at a particular healthcare setting for a specific purpose or intention.

Healthcare practices depend on using available evidence to meet patient, community, and health demands. Evidence-based decision-making can be applied in health care using a few steps that analyze the capacity of the organization to support evidence-based decision-making. Effective application of EBDM in healthcare first identifies knowledge gaps within healthcare. The leader then converts the identified gaps into research questions that guide the identification of validated evidence. The leader then integrates the collected evidence in their decision-making process, making adequately informed decisions regarding patient care.

Evidence-based decision-making in healthcare integrates clinical expertise and current evidence to support leadership and care decisions. As new evidence is being developed in health care and creating a large database of information, EBDM provides an approach that enhances the ability of leaders and healthcare professionals to select the most suitable information and to efficiently translate new research evidence into patient care (Mazzucca et al., 2019). EBDM also plays an important role in health care as it ensures that healthcare providers adequately review developed treatment plans and other care actions before executing them, thereby reducing the instances of wrong care and errors in the treatment process.

Data-Driven Decision-Making, Types of Data Used for Making Decisions in Health Care, and the Importance of Using Data in Decision Making

Data-driven decision-making (DM) involves making decisions with experiential and empirical data rather than using feelings, instincts, observations, or conjecture. Healthcare professionals and leaders can utilize various data types to support their decisions. Healthcare providers can use surveys and review data sources to collect data to form the basis of their decisions. The main types of data used for making decisions in health care include claims data, safety and quality outcomes data, utilization rate data, patient outcomes and experience data, research data, organization operational data, process data, organizational financial data, disease surveillance data, and patient assessment data. These data types can be obtained from a review of the existing patient medical records, administrative and other vital organizational operations records, interviewing patients and the community, disease registries, and review of existing literature.

The use of data by leaders when making decisions is important as it helps identify scientifically plausible approaches to improve the efficiency of operations in healthcare organizations. Improved efficiency due to data use is one notable application leaders can use to reduce operational costs. Integrating data in decisions can also help leaders identify and resolve critical gaps and improvement barriers within healthcare organizations to meet the expectations of patients and communities, hence helping the organization improve services and provide personalized care (Dash et al., 2019).

How Regulatory and Organizational Guidelines Shape How Leaders Make Decisions in Health Care

Regulatory and organizational guidelines play a mandatory oversight role in healthcare. Regulatory and organizational guidelines are implemented to ensure that healthcare leaders and other providers are responsible and make rational decisions. The provisions of regulatory and organizational guidelines provide guidelines on how healthcare decisions should be made and, therefore, influence how leaders make decisions in healthcare. One major influence of regulatory guidelines on how healthcare leaders make is providing principles to which the decisions must abide. This means that healthcare leaders must focus on such principles to ensure the decisions made meet the set ethical standards of the healthcare industry.

Regulatory and organizational guidelines also influence how healthcare leaders make decisions by establishing compliance standards specifically applied in the healthcare industry, such as in applying new technologies in healthcare (Reddy et al., 2020). The regulations and standards may be about health procedures, quality of care, safety standards, or ensuring patient and user privacy in adopted healthcare technologies. Healthcare leaders must shape their decision-making processes per these established compliance standards for their healthcare organizations to remain compliant with set regulations. Additionally, regulatory and organizational guidelines provide timely information on new evidence, changes in the healthcare industry, or new compliance requirements, which, in turn, influence how leaders make their decisions on the current and future operations of their healthcare organizations.

Role Of Ethics in Decision-Making, Steps for Ethical Decision-Making, and Addressing Ethical Conflicts during the Decision-Making Process

Ethics are a critical part of the decision-making process. Ethical decisions must be made even at the personal level. Ethics during decision-making ensure that leaders sustain the trust their constituents have in them. Ethics in decision-making also ensure that leaders are accountable and responsible for approaching issues and using resources and that decisions are for the best of the population and patients. Ethics also ensure that leaders and healthcare organizations do not fall into ethical conflict and unethical behavior that may result in malpractice and criminal charges, loss of market credibility, or loss of motivation among the staff.

Leaders can promote ethical decision-making by identifying the cause of ethical conflicts and then generating alternative approaches to solve ethical problems in health care. They can then utilize evidence to decide on actions to avoid ethical conflicts in decisions, implement ethical approaches to decision-making, and act as examples of ethical decision-makers (Ferrell & Fraedrich, 2021).

Moreover, a leader can address the ethical conflicts that arise during the decision-making process by adopting a diverse view of the problem creating the ethical conflict. The best way is to prevent ethical conflict from arising during the decision-making process. The leader can adopt an uncompromisable set of values and ethical standards that define every step of the decision-making process. Consequently, this will identify and resolve any ethical conflicts before they arise.


Dash, S., Shakyawar, S. K., Sharma, M., & Kaushik, S. (2019). Big data in healthcare: management, analysis, and prospects. Journal of Big Data, 6(1), 1–25.

Ferrell, O. C., & Fraedrich, J. (2021). Business ethics: Ethical decision making and cases. Cengage learning.

Manetti, W. (2019). Sound clinical judgment in nursing: A concept analysis. Nursing Forum, 54(1), 102–110.

Mazzucca, S., Parks, R. G., Tabak, R. G., Allen, P., Dobbins, M., Stamatakis, K. A., & Brownson, R. C. (2019). Research Full Report: Assessing Organizational Supports for Evidence-Based Decision Making in Local Public Health Departments in the United States: Development and Psychometric Properties of a New Measure. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 25(5), 454.

Reddy, S., Allan, S., Coghlan, S., & Cooper, P. (2020). A governance model for the application of AI in health care. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 27(3), 491–497.


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Decision-making is a constant process for those in leadership roles. An effective leader must understand the daily problems and present solutions beneficial to the organization, employees, and associated community or stakeholders. In a healthcare organization, this includes patients and their families. In a 1,000-1,250-word paper, discuss the aspects that help leaders make effective and ethical decisions in health care.

Decision-Making in Health Care

Decision-Making in Health Care

  1. Discuss the importance of sound decision-making in health care. Describe the potential consequences of poor or uniform decision-making as a leader.
  2. Define evidence-based decision-making. Explain how this is applied in health care and why it is important.
  3. Explain what the term data-driven decision-making is. Discuss what types of data are used for making decisions in health care and why it is important for a leader to use data when making a decision.
  4. Discuss how regulatory or organizational guidelines help shape leaders’ decisions in health care.
  5. Describe the role of ethics in decision-making. Explain steps a leader can take to promote ethical decision-making. How can a leader address ethical conflicts that arise during the decision-making process?

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