Knowledgeable and Experienced Guidance

Diagnostic errors due to heuristics

On Behalf of | Oct 15, 2019 | Medical Malpractice |

You assume that when you go to see your doctor in Greenville, a wealth of resources goes into determining your care plan. There’s the advanced equipment utilized by clinicians, the availability of any number of pharmaceuticals designed to combat all manner of ailments, and the individual experience and expertise of your doctor. Were you to know that oftentimes, however, your diagnosis is actually based on predetermined biases that may be influencing your physician, you might be less confident in their opinions. Many have come to us here at The Melvin Law Firm after having suffered from a misdiagnosis surprised to learn that this is the case.

Heuristics are defined as the protocols viewed as being the operating standards within an industry. They are typically set through research and observation of current trends. Healthcare employs heuristics in determining the standard of care that should be given in a particular situation.

It is not that you do not want your doctor to consider heuristics when treating you; on the contrary, they should be recognizing industry best practices. It is when they rely primarily on heuristics (at the expense of actual clinical indications) that problems arise. According to information shared by the Association of American Medical Colleges, heuristics can often lead to the following types of errors:

  • Your doctor settling on a certain condition before determining if it is actually present
  • Your doctor diagnosing a condition without considering others that cause similar symptoms
  • Your doctor basing a diagnoses solely off something they recently studied or heard
  • Your doctor stereotyping you due to your demographics

Determining a diagnosis primarily off heuristics can be risky and may be viewed as your doctor not dedicating their full capacity to your care. Other tips for spotting the signs of diagnostic errors can be found throughout our site.