Almost finished "How Doctors Think"

This wonderful book by Dr. Jerome Groopman catapulted itself to the top of my active reading list the moment it was delivered to our house. I have now read almost all of it, in very short order, and despite having spent some days of intense research work with Rob right after the end of the spring semester. Simply put, once I started the book, I really looked forward to the next page and chapter. I have the concluding chapter left to read, which gives advice on how to prevent your doctor from making the cognitive errors the previous chapters discuss, by asking the right questions.
The topic is the cognitive process that a doctor who is formulating a diagnosis or a course of treatment follows. As it turns out (news to me), doctors are trained in using Bayesian decision theory, where one calculates probabilities and expected values of treatment outcomes. But in cases where there are not enough high-quality data, this method is useless. Groopman discusses what good doctors do in such cases, and how the very best doctors avoid cognitive errors. Actually, the best doctors first of all remember their errors.
All this useful material is delivered in great style. Doctors do live through thrillers with their patients, and there is quite the thrill in reading the case histories that Groopman uses to make his points. I suppose that’s the thrill that hospital TV shows tap into, but for me it’s all the more exciting and informative when it comes from the pen of a thoughtful doctor like Dr. Groopman.
Read this book.


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