Are Cognitive Biases Influencing Your Clinical Decisions?

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Although accreditation for this CE/CME activity has expired, and the posttest is no longer available, you can still read the full article.

Expires February 28, 2017

Diagnostic errors occur for many reasons, some of which are based in cognitive biases. Also called cognitive dispositions to respond (CDR), these can result from failures in perception, faulty mental shortcuts, or unconscious biases, and clinicians are usually unaware they exist. This article discusses the influence CDRs have on clinical decisions and walks you through methods for purposeful debiasing.



CE/CME No: CR-1603

Earn credit by reading this article and successfully completing the posttest and evaluation. Successful completion is defined as a cumulative score of at least 70% correct.

• List the characteristics of System 1 and System 2 thinking.
• Explain how System 1 and System 2 thinking affects clinical decisions.
• Define the characteristics of no-fault, system, and cognitive errors and how they affect health care delivery.
• Describe how biases and cognitive dispositions to respond cause health care providers to make clinical decision errors.
• List some effective debiasing techniques to improve clinical decisions and patient safety.

David J. Klocko is an Associate Professor and Academic Coordinator in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, School of Health Professions, Dallas.
The author has no significant financial relationships to disclose.


This program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 1.0 hour of American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) Category 1 CME credit by the Physician Assistant Review Panel. [NPs: Both ANCC and the AANP Certification Program recognize AAPA as an approved provider of Category 1 credit.] Approval is valid for one year from the issue date of March 2016.

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