How 4 types of cognitive bias contribute to physician diagnostic errors — and how to overcome them

From Becker’s:

Diagnostic errors affect approximately 12 million U.S. adult patients each year, according to a 2011 study published by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Such errors could harm patients and also make physicians more vulnerable to medical malpractice claims.

Various issues could lead to diagnostic errors, including misinterpretation of clinical studies, narrow diagnostic focus, inadequate or inappropriate testing, failure to adequately assess a patient’s condition, failure or delay in obtaining a referral or consult and overreliance on a previous diagnosis.

Cognitive biases — systematic errors in thinking that influence decision making and judgment — belie many of these errors, which can ultimately lead to missed or inaccurate diagnoses and patient harm, as well as lawsuits.

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