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Cognitive bias in clinical practice – nurturing healthy skepticism among medical students

Authors Bhatti A

Received 20 August 2017

Accepted for publication 21 December 2017

Published 10 April 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 235—237

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/AMEP.S149558

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Md Anwarul Majumder


Alysha Bhatti

Faculty of Medicine, Imperial College London, London, UK


Abstract: Errors in clinical reasoning, known as cognitive biases, are implicated in a significant proportion of diagnostic errors. Despite this knowledge, little emphasis is currently placed on teaching cognitive psychology in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Understanding the origin of these biases and their impact on clinical decision making helps stimulate reflective practice. This article outlines some of the common types of cognitive biases encountered in the clinical setting as well as cognitive debiasing strategies. Medical educators should nurture healthy skepticism among medical students by raising awareness of cognitive biases and equipping them with robust tools to circumvent such biases. This will enable tomorrow’s doctors to improve the quality of care delivered, thus optimizing patient outcomes.

Keywords: cognitive bias, diagnostic error, clinical decision making

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