Better Doctors, Better Patients, Better Decisions: by Gerd Gigerenzer, J. A. Muir Gray

By Gerd Gigerenzer, J. A. Muir Gray

Contrary to well known opinion, one of many major difficulties in offering uniformly very good future health care isn't really loss of cash yet lack of know-how -- at the a part of either medical professionals and sufferers. The reports during this publication convey that many medical professionals and such a lot sufferers don't realize the to be had scientific proof. either sufferers and medical professionals are "risk illiterate" -- often not able to inform the variation among real probability and relative possibility. additional, unwarranted disparity in remedy judgements is the rule of thumb instead of the exception within the usa and Europe. All of this contributes to a lot wasted spending in overall healthiness care. The individuals to Better medical professionals, higher sufferers, higher Decisions examine the roots of the matter, from the emphasis in scientific learn on expertise and blockbuster medications to the inability of schooling for either medical professionals and sufferers. They demand a brand new, extra enlightened well-being care, with larger clinical schooling, journals that document examine results thoroughly and transparently, and sufferers accountable for their own clinical files, now not petrified of statistics yet capable of use them to make proficient judgements approximately their treatments.

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Example text

Of the 15 women whose child has Down syndrome, we expect that 12 will receive a positive test result (= 80% sensitivity). From the remaining 9,985 women, about 799 women will also test (falsely) positive (= 8% false positive rate). Thus, there are 811 women who receive a positive test result, out of which 12 actually carry a child with Down syndrome. 2). , Gigerenzer and Hoffrage 1995, 1999), physicians (Gigerenzer et al. 2007), and the elderly (Galesic, Gigerenzer et al. 2009). Even fifth graders can consistently solve Bayesian problems with natural frequencies (Zhu and Gigerenzer 2006).

Evidence is necessary but not sufficient, given that doctors and patients alike are misled by nontransparent health statistics. For instance, the Charité in Berlin is currently introducing not only evidence-based medicine but also transparent risk communication for all medical students. The transparency program is outlined in Gigerenzer (2002) and Gigerenzer et al. (2007). 26 G. Gigerenzer and J. A. M. Gray 2. 3. Organizations responsible for continuing medical education and recertification programs should ensure that practicing doctors receive the same education in transparent risk communication as medical students.

We will argue that a major reason for statistical illiteracy can thus be found not only in patients’ minds and lack of training, but in their environment. Statistical illiteracy is fostered by nontransparent framing of information that is sometimes an unintentional result of lack of understanding, but can also be an intentional effort to manipulate or persuade people. As the above examples have shown, two number formats are particularly hard to understand for the general public: relative risks and conditional probabilities.

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