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BMJ Qual Saf. 2013 Jun;22(6):478-84. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs-2012-000972. Epub 2013 Feb 8.

Contextual information influences diagnosis accuracy and decision making in simulated emergency medicine emergencies.

Author information

1
Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Liverpool John Moores University, Liverpool, Merseyside, UK. a.p.mcrobert@ljmu.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

It is well documented that adaptations in cognitive processes with increasing skill levels support decision making in multiple domains. We examined skill-based differences in cognitive processes in emergency medicine physicians, and whether performance was significantly influenced by the removal of contextual information related to a patient's medical history.

METHOD:

Skilled (n=9) and less skilled (n=9) emergency medicine physicians responded to high-fidelity simulated scenarios under high- and low-context information conditions.

RESULTS:

Skilled physicians demonstrated higher diagnostic accuracy irrespective of condition, and were less affected by the removal of context-specific information compared with less skilled physicians. The skilled physicians generated more options, and selected better quality options during diagnostic reasoning compared with less skilled counterparts. These cognitive processes were active irrespective of the level of context-specific information presented, although high-context information enhanced understanding of the patients' symptoms resulting in higher diagnostic accuracy.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings have implications for scenario design and the manipulation of contextual information during simulation training.

KEYWORDS:

Decision making; Emergency department; Simulation

PMID:
23396852
DOI:
10.1136/bmjqs-2012-000972
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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