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March 2016

Cognitive Biases in Clinical Decision MakingA Primer for the Practicing Dermatologist

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(3):253-254. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.3395

Physicians are constantly called on to collate and analyze relevant information in the care of patients, the process of which will affect the accuracy of their clinical reasoning and decision making. In making their decisions, physicians often turn to heuristics. These are mental shortcuts that physicians develop over time by recognizing patterns of disease.13 Heuristics allow complex decisions to be made quickly and generally serve well in processing and integrating large amounts of information by focusing attention on salient points.1,4 Dermatologists are commonly presented with opportunities to use heuristics because rapid-fire, complex decision making is often the norm in a busy practice.

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