Cognitive Bias – How Does it Affect your Patient Doctor Relationship?


Airing: Episode 482, Week of Saturday February 23, 2019

A new survey finds that a thought process called cognitive bias can cause issues when it comes to the care of chronically ill patients. But as we hear in this report, raising awareness can improve outcomes. Cognitive bias helps us speed up the decision-making process. But it can also get in the way of honest communication.

There is a study on a condition called idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF and what we discovered in that study was that there is a disconnect between patient and physician. A follow-up study of people with chronic lung disease and their doctors found cognitive bias in the doctor-patient relationship.

One way to short-circuit the problem is for patients to be specific about their goals and what they want to accomplish. It’s important to talk to your doctor about personal goals and activity when you have lung disease because the lung affects your life on a daily basis. The lung is your source of energy and so when you think about that, it’s important to establish your goals.

What do you want to do next week? What do you want to do next month? What are you looking forward to? By being aware of the problem, both doctors and patients can circumvent cognitive bias and improve their rapport by speaking openly and honestly about the patient’s situation.