Gut feelings in the diagnostic reasoning process; the role of uncertainty

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019


What role does uncertainty play in the doctor’s diagnostic reasoning process? Would it not be better to avoid uncertainty as much as possible? In this article we answer this question from an epistemological perspective. Doctors build up relevant, situational knowledge during the diagnostic process through listening, observation and interpretation during their contact with the patient. Uncertainty can play a crucial role in this. We use a practical case to illustrate how allowing in some uncertainty – in the form of gut feelings – can improve the quality of the diagnostic thought process.

2019 Jan 9;163. pii: D3181.

C.F. Stolper, M.W.J. van de Wiel, G.J. DInant, P.A.M. Van Royen.