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Justine Staal PhD candidate

Clinical reasoning

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We research the cognitive processes underlying diagnostic errors. It is often thought that systematic reasoning errors (called biases), which arise due to fast reasoning, are an important cause of diagnostic errors. However, there is also evidence that fast reasoning is an vital part of the diagnostic reasoning process, which often leads physicians to correct diagnoses. Using reaction times and eye movements, we study to what extent fast and slow reasoning is related to diagnostic errors. Furthermore, we study cognitive reasoning tools (such as checklists) and feedback interventions as interventions to reduce diagnostic errors.

Personally, I am proud of the AHRQ issue brief "Evidence on Use of Clinical Reasoning Checklists for Diagnostic Error Reduction" that Laura and I wrote. This article gives a quick overview into the current evidence for using checklists to reduce diagnostic errors, which was very surprising. Despite checklists being recommended often, the evidence was actually quite sparse. This issue brief also paved the way to the systematic review on clinical reasoning tools (including checklists) that we are working on.

I strive to produce, and help others produce, methodologically sound studies that have been carefully designed. I try to not only to learn more about the causes of diagnostic errors, but also about research methodologies and analysis methods. My main motivation is to learn as much as I can and to contribute in some way to improving academic research as a whole.

experimental studies, systematic reviews, cognitive biases, diagnostic errors, reasoning.