School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Evidence-Informed Decision-Making (PHCM9781)

image - Evidence-Informed Decision-Making

PHCM9781 Evidence Informed Decision Making which is a core course for the Master Health Management (MHM) program can now be taken as an elective by students enrolled in other programs from 2020.


In this course you will be introduced to different types of decision-making and the level of evidence you will need to make different types of decisions in health services management. Some decisions need evidence and to obtain evidence you will learn how to search the literature for evidence related to a health services issue. Some decisions require the highest level quality of evidence so you will be introduced to study designs applied in medical research and epidemiological principles to evaluate the methodological shortfalls associated with the different designs. Other decisions need lower levels of evidence and you will learn about the appropriateness and flaws of methods for collecting lower level evidence. With this knowledge you will be able to determine the level of evidence you require to make a decision and critically appraise the evidence for flaws. You will also learn to interpret commonly used statistical techniques in health related and health services research. Your new skills will be applied and assessed to a set of papers related to a health service issue.

Credit points

This course is a core course of the Master of Health Management Program and Master of Infectious Diseases Intelligence programs, comprising 6 units of credit towards the total 48 units of credit, required for completion of the study program. It can also provide six units of credit towards other programs, such as the Master of Public Health.

Mode of study

External (Distance) and Internal (Face-to-Face) classes on campus.

Course aim

The aim of this course is to introduce you to evidence-based decision making by developing your understanding of knowledge and evidence, skills in searching for evidence and critical appraisal skills of relevant research to inform your decision making in health management.

Course Outcomes

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • Understand the meaning of knowledge and evidence and how this relates to the ‘accepted’ knowledge base and to one’s own decision making
  • Identify the role of the level of evidence managers required according to the different types of decisions that managers make
  • Determine the category of a question for supporting a health management issue requiring an evidence informed decision
  • Identify an appropriate study design for the category of question and the limitations of each study design and the quality of evidence it provides
  • Understand how the study design must accommodate the feasibility and ethical requirements
  • Explain the appropriate use and interpretation of descriptive and inferential statistics and the principles of reliability and predictive validity
  • Critically appraise a scientific publication for its strengths and weaknesses and its relevance to the health management research question
  • Identify the possible impact of all other factors that are to be taken into consideration when seeking to implement evidence into health management practice
  • Introduce the approaches to communicating evidence based medicine/science with your staff and patient populations
Learning and teaching rationale

This year we have focused on developing an engaging and inclusive curriculum that directly applies theory to decision making across different healthcare contexts. Over the course of ten consecutive weeks, we will use different modes of teaching (i.e. face-to-face and webinars), assessments and learning strategies (i.e. small group tutorials, case studies) to develop your critical appraisal and management skills.


Assessment 1 - Short Answer
Weighting: 35%
Length: 1200 words (approximately 300 words each question)

Assessment 2 - Online Quiz
Weighting: 25%
Length: 25 multiple choice questions (MCQs)

Assessment 3 - Board Report
Weighting: 40%
Length: 1000 words

Learning resources

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  1. Course notes and readings.
  2. Weekly lectures (either face to face or online).
  3. Moodle discussion board.
  4. Webinars (external students only)

There are many excellent Evidence-Based Practice/Medicine textbooks.The preferred textbook for this course is Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions (Tammy Hoffman), ), but you may wish to read alternative texts listed below to assist your understanding:

  1. Tammy Hoffmann. Evidence-Based Practice Across the Health Professions. 2nd Edition Churchill Livingstone ISBN 9780729541350
  2. David Katz. Jekel's Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Preventive Medicine, and Public Health. 4th Edition Saunders/Elsevier ISBN: 9781455706587
  3. Jeremy H Howick. The Philosophy of Evidence-Based Medicine. Wiley Blackwell. SBN10 140519667X   ISBN13 978140519667
  4. Susan Hamer and Gill Collinson. Achieving Evidence-Based Practice, A Handbook for Practitioner. 2nd Edition. Elsevier ISBN 978070202776.