MSc/PGDip/PGCert Health Informatics (UCL/UoM Joint Award) / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Decision Support Systems

Course unit fact file
Unit code IIDS61402
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Informatics, Imaging and Data Sciences
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit focuses on patient data and clinical knowledge and how they are used to inform clinical decision making using computational methods. Students learn about the different forms of healthcare knowledge and decision making; how knowledge can be represented in computable form; and the design and evaluation of decision support systems. The module will also consider clinical decision support (CDS) systems in a wider perspective, studying methodological and technological challenges involved in integrating decision support into clinical practice.


The unit aims to introduce students to fundamentals of clinical decision support systems: underlying theories of decision making; knowledge acquisition and modelling; different types of decision support; and approaches to evaluation.

Learning outcomes


Category of outcome

Students should be able to;

A. Knowledge and understanding


LO1: The nature of clinical of decision making and decision science (e.g. statistical decision theory, psychological decision theories, shared decision making) to develop CDS systems.

LO2: The types of CDS including alerts, prompts, reminders, computerized clinical guidelines including their strengths and weaknesses.

LO3: The acquisition and modelling of knowledge for computational purposes

LO4: The application of CDS to support individuals and/or populations.

LO5: Performance aspects and designs for the evaluation of CDS systems

B. Intellectual skills


LO6: Critically reviewing published literature on CDS systems

LO7: Critically assessing proposals for evaluations of CDS systems

LO8: Describing and assessing biases in the evaluations of CDS systems

LO9: Developing a proposal for the evaluation of a CDS system

C. Practical skills


LO10: Developing CDS strategies to support quality and patient safety

LO11: Critically evaluating a CDS implementation at an organisation or in other scenarios

LO12: Assessing risk for CDS systems

D. Transferable skills and personal qualities


LO13: Working collaboratively within a team

LO14: Presenting ideas and work in a verbal and written format

LO15: Self-reflecting on the learning and how it can be applied in the work-place


Teaching and learning methods

This unit will delivered in a blended format: e-Learning preparation material will impart basic and core knowledge whilst the face-to-face lectures and open discussions will introduce concrete examples and encourage attendees to draw upon their own reading and experience. Group, problem based learning will show a deeper understanding of the area and encourage collaborative working. Example case-studies will be drawn from University of Manchester (HeRC) and University College London research-driven projects and current NHS projects. The F2F teaching will be delivered as 1 x three day block of workshops covering a key section

Assessment methods


Assessment Methods

Weighting (%)

Group Presentation


Computer Practical 20%




Feedback methods

Formative assessment and feedback to students is a key feature of the on-line learning materials for this unit. 

Regular presentation of results to tutor and staff to elicit feedback and develop ideas/work.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Niels Peek Unit coordinator

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