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David André Broniatowski (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), “A Method for Analysis of Expert Committee Decision-Making Applied to FDA Medical Device Panels”(2010). Advisor: Prof. Christopher L. Magee
Committees of experts are critical for decision-making in engineering systems. This is because the complexity of these systems requires that information is pooled from across multiple specialties and domains of knowledge. The social elements of technical decision-making are not well understood, particularly among expert committees. This is largely due to a lack of methodology for directly studying such interactions in real-world situations. This thesis presents a method for the analysis of transcripts of expert committee meetings, with an eye towards understanding the process by which information is communicated in order to reach a decision.
In particular, this thesis focuses on medical device advisory panels in the US Food and Drug Administration. The method is based upon natural language processing tools, and is designed to extract social networks in the form of directed graphs from the meeting transcripts which are representative of the flow of information and communication on the panel. Application of this method to a set of 37 meetings from the FDA's Circulatory Systems Devices Panel shows the presence of numerous effects. For details, click here to access the thesis or contact the author.
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