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Radiographics. 2018 Jan-Feb;38(1):236-247. doi: 10.1148/rg.2018170107. Epub 2017 Dec 1.

Bias in Radiology: The How and Why of Misses and Misinterpretations.

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From the Departments of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California, San Francisco, 505 Parnassus Ave, M-391, San Francisco, CA 94143-0628.


Medical errors are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the medical field and are substantial contributors to medical costs. Radiologists play an integral role in the diagnosis and care of patients and, given that those in this field interpret millions of examinations annually, may therefore contribute to diagnostic errors. Errors can be categorized as a "miss" when a primary or critical finding is not observed or as a "misinterpretation" when errors in interpretation lead to an incorrect diagnosis. In this article, the authors describe the cognitive causes of such errors in diagnostic medicine, specifically in radiology. Recognizing the cognitive processes that radiologists use while interpreting images should improve one's awareness of the inherent biases that can impact decision making. The authors review the common biases that impact clinical decisions, as well as strategies to counteract or minimize the potential for misdiagnosis. System-level processes that can be implemented to minimize cognitive errors are reviewed, as well as ways to implement personal changes to minimize cognitive errors in daily practice. ©RSNA, 2017.

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