Heuristics and Cognitive Error in Medical Imaging.
AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2018 May;210(5):1097-1105. doi: 10.2214/AJR.17.18907. Epub 2018 Mar 12. Itri JN1, Patel SH2.
OBJECTIVE: The field of cognitive science has provided important insights into mental processes underlying the interpretation of imaging examinations. Despite these insights, diagnostic error remains a major obstacle in the goal to improve quality in radiology. In this article, we describe several types of cognitive bias that lead to diagnostic errors in imaging and discuss approaches to mitigate cognitive biases and diagnostic error.
CONCLUSION: Radiologists rely on heuristic principles to reduce complex tasks of assessing probabilities and predicting values into simpler judgmental operations. These mental shortcuts allow rapid problem solving based on assumptions and past experiences. Heuristics used in the interpretation of imaging studies are generally helpful but can sometimes result in cognitive biases that lead to significant errors. An understanding of the causes of cognitive biases can lead to the development of educational content and systematic improvements that mitigate errors and improve the quality of care provided by radiologists.