Overconfidence will be a key barrier for physicians in making full use of electronic decision-support systems, according to a study released in the April issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Participating residents and more experienced internists, who made their diagnoses in a series of nine challenging cases in which their diagnosis and the confidence levels in their diagnosis were both measured, proved to be "overconfident," that is, they believed they were correct when in fact they were not. Overconfidence was measured in 12% to 15% of the cases overall, according a summary of the study released today.
Study researcher Charles Friedman, a professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, concluded that physician overconfidence presents a challenge to developers of decision-support systems.
Clinicians either seek out support in making a decision or have that support thrust upon them by decision-support logic buried in a new wave of software available in more sophisticated electronic medical records systems.
"The whole decision-support process presupposes that clinicians know when to seek help or pay attention to help that is offered," Friedman said. "An overconfident physician will not seek help or may ignore help that is offered; someone who is underconfident may, in extreme cases, be talked out of what was an accurate assessment."