Cognitive errors occur commonly in medicine and have been recently popularized by best selling books by Daniel Kahneman, Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis. Heuristics and biases cause medical-decision-making to be altered despite practitioners having adequate medical knowledge. This is evidenced by the discordance between clinical guideline recommendations and clinical practice. This symposium, focusing on epidural steroid injections as an example, will initially utilize audience participation (through anonymous polling) to demonstrate diagnostic differences between individuals and treatment decisions differences with various clinical scenarios. We will then describe the barriers to 'knowledge transfer' using the example of the LESS trial, which looked at the efficacy of epidural steroid injections in individuals with spinal stenosis. Lastly, we will describe common cognitive errors in medicine and how to recognize and mitigate their effects.

Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate diagnostic and treatment variance among like-minded individuals.
  • Discuss clinical guideline development and how well it translates to clinical practice.
  • Describe common cognitive errors and how to recognize and mitigate their effects.