"Living a fully ethical life involves doing the most good we can." - Peter Singer
"Common sense is not so common." - Voltaire
“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn't true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Clinicians’ Expectations of the Benefits and Harms of Treatments, Screening, and Tests

Tammy C. Hoffmann & Chris Del Mar
JAMA Intern Med. 
Published online January 9, 2017.
doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.8254

Question

Do clinicians have accurate expectations of the benefits and harms of treatments, tests, and screening tests?

Findings

In this systematic review of 48 studies (13 011 clinicians), most participants correctly estimated 13% of the 69 harm expectation outcomes and 11% of the 28 benefit expectations. The majority of participants overestimated benefit for 32% of outcomes, underestimated benefit for 9%, underestimated harm for 34%, and overestimated harm for 5% of outcomes.

Meaning

Clinicians rarely had accurate expectations of benefits or harms, with inaccuracies in both directions, but more often underestimated harms and overestimated benefits.

The research is here.
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