This is Part 1 of EM Cases' series on Diagnostic Decision Making with Walter Himmel, Chris Hicks and David Dushenski discussing the intersection of evidence-based medicine, cognitive bias and systems issues to effect our diagnostic decision making in Emergency Medicine. In this episode we first discuss 5 strategies to help you master evidence-based diagnostic decision making to minimize diagnostic error, avoid over-testing and improve patient care including: 1. The incorporation of patients' values and clinical expertise into evidence-based decisions 2. Critically appraising diagnostic studies 3. Understanding that diagnostic tests are not perfect 4. Using the concept of test threshold to guide work-ups 5. Understanding that the predictive value of a test depends on the prevalence of disease We then go on to review some of the factors that play into the clinician’s and patient’s risk tolerance in a given clinical encounter, how this plays into shared decision making and the need to adjust our risk tolerance in critical situations. Finally, we present some strategies to prevent over-testing while improving patient care, patient flow and ethical practice.
In anticipation of our series of podcasts on Diagnostic Decision Making with Dr. Walter Himmel, Dr. Chris Hicks and Dr. David Dushenski we have Dr. Hicks presenting his Best Case Ever. Taking action in Emergency Medicine requires not only careful consideration of the best evidence, the experience of the clinician, the patient's values and the system that you work in, but also the will to act. Dr. Hicks describes a case of a patient who suffers a cardiac arrest, where the diagnosis is quite obvious to everyone in the room (and the required action is as well), yet a delay in treatment occurs nonetheless.