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Informatics of Risk Assessment and Economics: Putting it all Together in Health and Safety Decision Making

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Shaker Verlag


Health and safety regulatory agencies worldwide are moving towards adopting a risk-informed regulatory framework. Risk management or decision making can be complicated because it is hard to balance the interests of the different stake holders affected a decision. Economics provides methods to characterize trade-offs and – if not necessarily pointing to a single optimal decision – provides decision makers with better information when making difficult choices among options. Risk assessment provides methods on how to use probabilistic techniques instead of deterministic calculations when deciding among options. The analytical tools in risk assessment and economics are not only useful in pointing toward better decisions, but they are also useful in highlighting data gaps and therefore help inform decisions regarding data needs for research. As an increasing amount of information is collected, managed, and disseminated by a number of diverse institutions, the need to convert the information to practical use is becoming more challenging. For example, while vast amounts of consumer related data sources are available in both public and non-public domains, it is difficult to recognize the usefulness or analytical potential of the data because of the way the data is collected, interpreted, stored, or presented. This presentation will address how developments in information technology are ushering in new advantages and challenges in the areas of risk assessment and economics of health and safety regulations. It will also address how economic theory can help identify and prioritize different data needs. The main focus will be to illustrate how improvements in informatics have helped bring to light the advantages of different models for estimating the impacts of public or private actions that affect health and safety. Developments in informatics have been particularly useful in building architectures that allow communication across multiple entities, stakeholder, and disciplines — i.e. improved communication among economists and scientists but also between the regulated and the regulator.


McLaughlin, Christina (2008): Informatics of Risk Assessment and Economics: Putting it all Together in Health and Safety Decision Making. Environmental Informatics and Industrial Ecology. Aachen: Shaker Verlag. ICT for Risk, Health and Disaster Management. Lüneburg. 2008