Making difficult decisions is often one of life’s most challenging dilemmas. Hospital administrators who are responsible for all of the patients, medical personnel, and support staff face this tough task when a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, is heading their way. Should everyone be evacuated or remain in place? Your challenge is to apply a data analysis technique by creating and using a decision tree to determine whether a medical facility should or should not be evacuated prior to an impending hurricane.
What are data?Data are any type of facts or numbers. Data can be collected on any subject, so if you can collect information, then you can collect data. Accounting information for a company, the operating information for a large hospital, and the inventory lists for a restaurant are all types of data. There are even metadata, which are data about other data!
What is data analytics?Data analytics is the science of organizing and examining raw data in order to extract useful information. The science of data analytics encompasses different types of data analysis. Data analytics is the science of analysis, and data analysis is the actual process of examining data and pulling out the important, relevant information.
How can data analysis be used in decision making?Companies often use data analysis to make better business decisions. For instance, if a company wanted to know how much to charge for a new product, it could analyze data that describes how much money people are currently paying for a similar item. Then the company could decide to charge a similar price. People can also analyze historical data to make decisions like using past weather forecasts to help plan a vacation.
What are decision trees?A decision tree is a visual tool used in decision making. Decision trees use tree-shaped structures that represent several decisions and their possible outcomes. "Nodes" in the tree represent decisions or characteristics, and the values of decisions/characteristics are represented by branches. The first node of a decision tree is called a root node or parent node, and the final decision node is called an end node. In this simulation, the end node is referred to as a decision leaf or leaf node.
How is a node, branch, or leaf represented?In this simulation, a square represents a node, a tree branch represents a branch, and a leaf represents a leaf node.
What is pruning?Decision trees can often become too large, and sometimes they can hold too much information that is not directly related to the final decision. In order to stop this from happening, you can "prune" the decision tree. You prune a decision tree by removing sections of information that are unnecessary for what you are trying to classify or understand. This reduces the size of the tree, and helps you more clearly see the important factors for your decision.
What is an evacuation plan?An evacuation plan is a detailed program, method, or diagram that describes how people should proceed to leave an area quickly. Businesses need to have evacuation plans in place so that employees, customers, and visitors can safely leave through available exits in a reasonable amount of time during an emergency. Cities must also have good evacuation plans so that people traveling on the roads can exit the city without too much of a delay.
What are some important issues a hospital has to consider for evacuation?One of the first things a hospital has to consider when planning an evacuation is the reason for the evacuation. The evacuation plan for a hurricane may not be the same as the plan for evacuating for an earthquake. Hospitals must also determine which order to evacuate their patients - certain patients, like people on life support machines, may need to be evacuated before others if a long term power outage is expected. Another important issue is security. Security officials are needed to keep unauthorized people out of the hospital and to guard transport vehicles coming and going from the hospital. During Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, many ambulances were forced to turn around before they reached the hospital because of security concerns.
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