Pearls from 2/23/21 Medicine LEADS

The Feb. 23, 2021 session of Duke Medicine LEADS featured James Fox, MD, presenting "This is your brain on DIAGNOSIS."

Here are pearls and takeaways from the session:

  1. Our brain is a tremendous pattern processor. When we recognize the pattern (for example a diagnosis we are familiar with) we employ System 1 thinking and move quickly to the diagnosis. When we don't recognize the pattern, we employ System 2 thinking and analyze the data we are encountering. In reality, our brain functions with both systems at the same time.
  2. Clinical reasoning is situated in the environment that we practice. It is often time-pressured and it involves off-loading cognitive work to the environment.  
  3. We can improve our diagnostic reasoning in the following ways: 
  • Calibrating our knowledge routinely based on feedback.  
  • Balancing confidence and humility
  • Situating ourselves appropriately - engage in psychologically safe teams where feedback in all hierarchical directions is encouraged and where we are able to focus our attention and limit distractions
  • Practicing reflection - on our diagnostic errors but also on our successes! 

Watch the recorded session

Duke Medicine Learning, Education, and Discussion Series (LEADS) takes place each Tuesday at 12 p.m. Learn more and see schedule of upcoming sessions.