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Program eases decision making.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Health progress (Saint Louis, Mo.)
Publication Date
Volume
69
Issue
8
Pages
40–44
Identifiers
PMID: 10290384
Source
Medline

Abstract

A useful tool to assist management with complex multiple-criteria decision making is the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) microcomputer program. The AHP requires the user to judge the relative importance of each criterion, then specify a preference for each alternative relative to each criterion. The result is a prioritized overall ranking of the decision alternatives. Providence Ventures, Inc., used the AHP to assist a recent hospital client in selecting a magnetic resonance imaging vendor. A committee was appointed to narrow the decision alternatives down to three vendors, using the following criteria: price, technology, sitting, service, service contract, cryogen contract, and patient comfort. A key factor in the AHP is establishing priorities and preferences through the pairwise comparison procedure. The program asks the user, for example, if price and technology are equally important. If the response is no, the user tells the program which is more important and by how much, assigning a weight to each criterion. Similarly the user enters pairwise preferences for the vendors in regard to each criterion. The program then computes the overall decision. The entire process takes 10 to 15 minutes. A tool such as the AHP enables the manager and hospital to gain control of resources by saving time in reaching a decision, double checking other decisions for validity, using the model to audit department head decisions, and standardizing the decision-making process.

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