What's a decision tree? Well, basically it's a flow chart. So what does that have to do with health? The idea is this: Our health doesn't happen all at once; it's a consequence of years of choices – some large and some small – that combine to make up our health. Sometimes we've chosen wisely and we enjoy good health; sometimes we choose poorly and we suffer the consequences. A decision tree, then, is a trope; a device that can make these decisions more explicit and more obviously something we are actually choosing – it's a way to externalize the choices that we otherwise make without much thought at all. Research shows that when we actually engage in a decision (when we think it through, even if just for a moment) we tend to make a better decision, defined both as one that we're more comfortable with in hindsight and one that potentially bodes a better outcome. By engaging with our health consciously and explicitly as a series of decisions, one leading to another, we can become "smarter" and enjoy better health.
The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in the New Era of Personalized Medicine