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Cognitive Biases in Clinical Decision Making A Primer for the Practicing Dermatologist

Jeffrey M. Cohen, MD1; Susan Burgin, MD2
[+] 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.
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This Viewpoint discusses cognitive biases in medical decision making, which can lead to incorrect diagnoses or suboptimal clinical management.

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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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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