Is your doctor too confident?

A study showed doctor's confidence levels in their correct and incorrect diagnosis remained just about the same

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor
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HOUSTON - How confident are you that your doctor is making the correct diagnosis?

A new study out of Houston's Baylor College of Medicine found doctors were confident in their diagnosis, whether it was right or not.

Researchers conducted an online study of 118 internists from around the country. They were asked to solve five hypothetical cases. Some of the cases were easy, while some were more difficult.

With the easier cases, researchers found the doctors were correct in their diagnoses more than half the time. But only five percent got it correct on the more difficult cases. Nonetheless, the doctor's confidence level in their diagnosis remained just about the same.

Dr. Hardeep Singh, a researcher with the Houston Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine says patients should look at this new study as a reason to pay more attention to their symptoms.

"We do make mistakes and you have to be on a proactive watch, for when you think there is something wrong that the doctor might not have caught. So if you're not getting better after the doctor has given you a diagnosis, or if you're getting worse, it might be time to question the doctor's diagnosis," Dr. Singh said.

Baylor researchers say the next step is study doctor confidence in an actual clinical setting and hopefully develop an effective means of providing physicians with feedback on the accuracy of their diagnosis.

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