Cognitive biases can lead to inaccurate diagnoses and a negative impact on patient care. But it’s possible to overcome the obstacles.
Cognitive bias is a well-defined phenomenon in the psychology literature that has been clearly shown to affect physicians’ decision making. “There are several different types of cognitive biases; healthcare professionals, including physicians, are at potential risk to fall prey to several specific cognitive biases and must be attuned to these,” says Nada Elbuluk, MD, MSc, FAAD.
“The healthcare consequences of cognitive biases can vary but may include incorrect or delayed diagnoses, inadequate disease management, underestimation of disease burden with subsequent reduced quality of life in patients, and even increased mortality,” she says. “When dealing with health as the outcome, it is so important to minimize and ideally eliminate bias whenever possible.”
Dr. Elbuluk is director of clinical impact at VisualDx.