Psychology of Clinical Decision Making

Posted in News on 2.26.2018
In a Perspective piece published earlier this week in the New England Journal, Alosa Health Founder and Clinical Advisor Dr. Jerry Avorn discusses the science of decision-making. While the science of decision-making is a well-developed field, its application to the field of medicine has been slow.

Dr. Avorn ascribes this slow uptake to medicine’s “ongoing assumption” that clinicians and patients are rationale decision makers, when in fact reality paints a different picture. We know, for instance, that humans are influenced disproportionally by information that is most easily accessible or prominently featured. We also know that humans are influenced by recent experiences, even if those experiences are not a representative sample, and that humans are poor estimators when it comes to the probability of adverse events.

One method to overcome these natural inclinations toward non-rational decision-making, and to introduce concepts from behavioral economics into the world of medicine, is academic detailing. The goal of academic detailing is to move clinicians toward more evidence-based choices around prescribing, and the approach involves educational outreach in which specially trained educators meet with clinicians in their own offices to discuss a particular clinical topic or medication-use situation.

Learn why Dr. Avorn believes that academic detailing is the best way to incorporate psychology of decision-making into the medical realm by reading the full piece here.

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