Although quantitative mathematical models can guide clinical decision making, clinicians rarely use formal computations to make patient care decisions in day-to-day practice. Rather, an intuitive understanding of probabilities is combined with cognitive processes called heuristics to guide clinical judgment. Heuristics are often referred to as rules of thumb, educated guesses, or mental shortcuts. Heuristics usually involve pattern recognition and rely on a subconscious integration of somewhat haphazardly gathered patient data with prior experience rather than on a conscious generation of a rigorous differential diagnosis that is formally evaluated using specific data from the literature. Such informal reasoning is often fallible because heuristics may cause several types of unconscious errors cognitive errors. Studies suggest that more medical errors involve cognitive error than lack of knowledge or information.
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Critical Care Compendium • LITFL Medical Blog • CCC
Critical thinking skills are essential for all nurses. They are a necessity for the provision of safe, high-quality clinical care. Nurses today are caring for patients who have complex, culturally diverse health care needs, making the importance of critical thinking in nursing even more paramount. The growing body of research, patient acuity, and complexity of care demand higher-order thinking skills.
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Prevention of diagnostic errors is more complex than building safety checks into health care systems; it requires an understanding of critical thinking, of clinical reasoning, and of the cognitive processes through which diagnoses are made. When a diagnostic error is recognized, it is imperative to identify where and how the mistake in clinical reasoning occurred. Cognitive biases may contribute to errors in clinical reasoning.
It is consistent of 30 chapters, including many figures and tables. The unique feature of the book is that it mainly based upon the discussion of medical cases to explain the concept of cognitive errors and their importance in clinical medicine as well as current controversies within healthcare system. More importantly, the book also provides strategies on minimizing cognitive errors in various medical and professional settings. The text is practical and easy to read. We all know that medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and cause serious problems of public health.