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ABSTRACT: Cognitive processes in anesthesiology decision making

The quality and safety of health care are under increasing scrutiny. Recent studies suggest that medical errors, practice variability, and guideline noncompliance are common, and that cognitive error contributes significantly to delayed or incorrect diagnoses. These observations have increased interest in understanding decision-making psychology.Many nonrational (i.e., not purely based in statistics) cognitive factors influence medical decisions and may lead to error. The most well-studied include heuristics, preferences for certainty, overconfidence, affective (emotional) influences, memory distortions, bias, and social forces such as fairness or blame.Although the extent to which such cognitive processes play a role in anesthesia practice is unknown, anesthesia care frequently requires rapid, complex decisions that are most susceptible to decision errors. This review will examine current theories of human decision behavior, identify effects of nonrational cognitive processes on decision making, describe characteristic anesthesia decisions in this context, and suggest strategies to improve decision making.

via Cognitive processes in anesthesiology decisio… [Anesthesiology. 2014] – PubMed – NCBI.

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Brian S McGowan, PhD

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Brian is a research scientist and educational technologist. He helped transform Pfizer’s Medical Education Group and previously served in educational leadership roles at HealthAnswers, Inc.; Acumentis, LLC.; Cephalon; and Wyeth. He taught graduate medical education programs at Arcadia University for 10 years. Dr. McGowan recently authored the book "#socialQI: Simple Solutions for Improving Your Healthcare" and has been invited to speak internationally on the subject of information flow, technology, and learning in healthcare.

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