George Mason University

HAP 525:
Risk Analysis in Healthcare


Field Project

This project is the basis of your grade for the course.  You are encouraged to get repeated input from the instructor through out the semester.  The project should provide a detailed probabilistic risk analysis for an actual organization or situation.  Here are some examples:

  1. Analysis of privacy risks within an organization (e.g. release of information through employee sales)
  2. Analysis of security violation risks (e.g. school shootings)
  3. Analysis of risk of sentinel events (e.g. wrong side surgery, epidemic infections, patient elopement, etc.)
  4. Analysis of causes of an outbreak of a new disease

In case you find it difficult to arrange for access to information within an organization, you might want to focus on risk of relapse to poor habits within a personal improvement effort:

  1. Analysis of causes of failure of women with cardiovascular illness for maintaining recommended exercise and diet
  2. Modeling a patient's potential reaction to changes in medication dose or type.

The project must include a mathematical model of risk.  It must provide data validating assumptions made.  Data could come from experts in the field, the literature and/or from surveys. 

Peer Review

A midway peer review is required.  Prepare a report that includes all sections required in the final report.  Send your work to another student and ask for comments.  Reviewers must respond to both the student and the instructor and must include in their review comments on the following:

  1. Presentation
    1. Does the title describe the content?
    2. Is the abstract complete?
    3. Is the writing clear, grammatically correct and free from spelling errors?
    4. Is the visual presentation of the model understandable by itself without reference to the text?
    5. Has the report followed the recommended sections?
  2. Content
    1. Is there a literature review of the topic?
    2. Is the mathematical mode correctly described?
      • Is it clear how model structure was arrived at?
      • Is it clear how parameters of the model were estimated?
        • If experts were queried, was the question asked in a way that limited the population of concern to the patients or situations with appropriate condition. 
        • If time between events was used, was the average time between consecutive events correctly calculated.
        • If data were constructed from a series of failures and their causes, was the joint distribution of causes and sentinel event correctly calculated.
    3. Has the validation of the model parameters and structure been carried out, including:
      • Conditional independencies have been verified
      • Predicted frequency of sentinel event is within scale of observed frequency
      • Prevalence of causes among sentinel events is as experienced.
  3. Overall
    1. What worked well in the report that you can use in your own effort?
    2. What needs improvement that could make the report more useful.

Peer reviews should follow the outline provided above exactly and should have a section for each topic area, including the number and the relevant alphabet.  There should be a total of 10 labeled sections in the peer review.

Project Outline

The following components should be included in the final report:

  1. Title page (1 page)
    • Title of the report
    • Author names (with highest academic degrees) and affiliations (including titles, departments, and name and location of institutions of primary employment)
    • Corresponding authorís name and complete address including email
    • Any acknowledgments credits, or disclaimers.
  2. Abstract (200 words or fewer)
    • What was investigated
    • Methods of analysis
    • Sources of data
    • Results of validating the model
    • Conclusions.
    • 3-5 key words that describe the contents of the article
  3. Introduction (1 page)
    • Why are these risks of concern
    • How would the risk analysis help in decision making
    • Why would a probabilistic risk analysis be preferred in this setting
  4.  Methods (2-3 pages)
    • Procedures used to construct the risk model
    • Procedures used to estimate the parameters of the risk model
    • Procedures used to validate the assumptions
  5. Sources of data (1 page)
    • Indicate source of data for each parameter including experts opinions, literature review, extant databases, brief surveys, diary.
  6. Results (2-3 pages)
    • Describe the model
    • Describe the findings from test of validation of the model
      • Show predicted event is within observed frequency of the event
      • Show prevalence of causes are within reported frequency of these causes in the literature
      • Show result of tests to confirm accuracy of assumed conditional independencies
  7. Conclusions (1/2 page)
    • Discus the utility of the model
    • Discuss areas of additional work needed.

Copyright © 2006 by Farrokh Alemi, Ph.D.  Created on Tuesday October 4th, 2006.  Most recent revision 10/22/2011. This page is part of a Course on Risk Analysis