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J R Coll Physicians Edinb. 2011 Jun;41(2):155-62. doi: 10.4997/JRCPE.2011.208.

Better clinical decision making and reducing diagnostic error.

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Department of Emergency Medicine and Division of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University, QE II-Health Sciences Centre, Halifax Infirmary, 1796 Summer Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


A major amount of our time working in clinical practice involves thinking and decision making. Perhaps it is because decision making is such a commonplace activity that it is assumed we can all make effective decisions. However, this is not the case and the example of diagnostic error supports this assertion. Until quite recently there has been a general nihilism about the ability to change the way that we think, but it is now becoming accepted that if we can think about, and understand, our thinking processes we can improve our decision making, including diagnosis. In this paper we review the dual process model of decision making and highlight ways in which decision making can be improved through the application of this model to our day-to-day practice and by the adoption of de-biasing strategies and critical thinking.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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