Heuristics: foundations for a novel approach to medical decision making

Nicolai Bodemer, Yaniv Hanoch, Konstantinos V. Katsikopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Medical decision-making is a complex process that often takes place during uncertainty, that is, when knowledge, time, and resources are limited. How can we ensure good decisions? We present research on heuristics—simple rules of thumb—and discuss how medical decision-making can benefit from these tools. We challenge the common view that heuristics are only second-best solutions by showing that they can be more accur ate, faster, and easier to apply in comparison to more complex strategies. Using the example of fast-and-frugal decision trees, we illustrate how heuristics can be studied and implemented in the medical context. Finally, we suggest how a heuristic-friendly culture supports the study and application of heuristics as complementary strategies to existing decision rules.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-203
Number of pages9
JournalInternal and Emergency Medicine
Early online date28 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Medical decision making
  • Heuristics
  • Rules of thumb
  • Decision tools
  • Bounded rationality


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