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Effects of Outcome on Physicians' Judgment of Appropriateness of Care

David D. Woods, PhD; Richard I. Cook, MD
JAMA. 1991;266(6):793-794. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03470060055012.
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To the Editor.  —Caplan et al1 showed an outcome bias in physician evaluations of patient care. In research on error, it is critical to distinguish outcome failures from deficiencies or defects in the decision-making or problem-solving process.Not all defects in decision processes are associated with bad outcomes; other factors may be necessary for the defect to propagate along a chain of negative consequences.2 Conversely, bad outcomes can occur despite good decisions, ie, despite complete and thorough consideration of all of the available information, goals, and contributing factors.3 Appreciating this fundamental aspect of human decision behavior is critical for

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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