Source: InformationWeek, Jun 2011
Why do physicians need a diagnostic aid? For one thing, there’s just too much information out there for any one doctor to master. But there’s also a less obvious reason.
In How Doctors Think, Jerome Groopman, MD, from Harvard Medical School, points out that physicians are prone to certain cognitive errors, and several of those can be addressed by information technology. In fact, one study that looked at 100 incorrect diagnoses found that only one in four resulted from a lack of medical knowledge. The other mistakes were the result of these cognitive traps.
“Availability” bias is one common mistake. In other words, doctors tend to lean toward diagnoses that are mostavailable to them in their day-to-day routine. Similarly, an “attribution” error can lead to misdiagnoses. It’s the kind of mistake that clinicians make when they stereotype patients–or attribute certain characteristics to patients without good evidence.
Enter Isabel’s Diagnostic Engine
Isabel’s diagnostic tool can help sidestep many of the cognitive errors clinicians make by providing a dispassionate analysis of a patient’s record, pulling data directly from the electronic health record (EHR).
Researchers from Stony Brook University have shown that Isabel’s diagnostic skills generate tangible results. When they compared Isabel’s final diagnoses of 50 complex cases to the actual diagnoses made by experienced clinicians, they found 74% of the computer’s conclusions were correct when the patient’s entire case–including medical history, physical examination findings, and lab test results–was simply copied and pasted into the software’s data entry field. When each patient’s information was entered into the program’s key findings section, a slightly more time-consuming process, the success rate jumped to 96%.