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Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The 3 faces of clinical reasoning: Epistemological explorations of disparate error reduction strategies.

Sandra Monteiro, Geoff Norman, & Jonathan Sherbino
J Eval Clin Pract. 2018 Jun;24(3):666-673.


There is general consensus that clinical reasoning involves 2 stages: a rapid stage where 1 or more diagnostic hypotheses are advanced and a slower stage where these hypotheses are tested or confirmed. The rapid hypothesis generation stage is considered inaccessible for analysis or observation. Consequently, recent research on clinical reasoning has focused specifically on improving the accuracy of the slower, hypothesis confirmation stage. Three perspectives have developed in this line of research, and each proposes different error reduction strategies for clinical reasoning. This paper considers these 3 perspectives and examines the underlying assumptions. Additionally, this paper reviews the evidence, or lack of, behind each class of error reduction strategies. The first perspective takes an epidemiological stance, appealing to the benefits of incorporating population data and evidence-based medicine in every day clinical reasoning. The second builds on the heuristic and bias research programme, appealing to a special class of dual process reasoning models that theorizes a rapid error prone cognitive process for problem solving with a slower more logical cognitive process capable of correcting those errors. Finally, the third perspective borrows from an exemplar model of categorization that explicitly relates clinical knowledge and experience to diagnostic accuracy.

A pdf can be downloaded here.