Medical causation analysis heuristics

Philip Harber, Dennis Shusterman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Medical causation analysis determines whether or not a specific patient's illness is the result of a work site or an environmental exposure. In the past, this has been conducted implicitly with little analysis of the process per se. Our review suggests that there are several distinct heuristics that may be utilized; these include probability-based models, application of group-based data (epidemiology) to individuals, Bayesian analysis, a priori assumptions about which conclusions are better, and others. Some methods consider only work causes, whereas others explicitly consider alternative explanations. There are considerable differences among the methods in process, outcome, and fundamental assumptions. Formal assessment of the medical causation analysis process can provide insight and may ultimately lead to its standardization and improvement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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