This paper proposes a stochastic shortest path approach to find an optimal sequence of tests to confirm or discard a disease, for any prescribed optimality criterion. The idea is to select the best sequence in which to apply a series of available tests, with a view at reaching a diagnosis with minimum expenditure of resources. The proposed approach derives an optimal policy whereby the decision maker is provided with a test strategy for each a priori probability of disease, aiming to reach posterior probabilities that warrant either immediate treatment or a not-ill diagnosis.
Keywords: Diagnosis; Healthcare problems; Stochastic shortest path.
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