Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How Doctors Think

I heard about 15 minutes of interview with the book's author (an eminiment doctor) on Fresh Aire. Very interesting stuff. Lessons:
  • Don't assume the doctor is infallible.
  • Definitely don't assume tests are infallible (he quotes an error rate of 30% on radiology!). Even if the test is theoretically perfect, there is always the possibility of human error resulting in you being given another person's results.
  • The simple practice of asking "what else could it be?" is cited as a way to move pysicians off their bias (common to humans in general) for latching onto the idea introduced initially.
A couple of times I have gone for second opinions, and when I do, I make it a point not to tell the second physician that I am there for a second opinion.

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