September 21, 2009
Gut feelings: Usually alarm or reassurance
So-called gut feelings play a substantial role in primary physicians' diagnostic reasoning, but in combination with analytical reasoning, Dutch researchers say.
Erik Stolper of Maastricht University, The Netherlands, worked with a team of 27 medical opinion leaders to define gut feelings closely and allow future research to evaluate the effectiveness of the
there's something wrong here,Stolper said.
sense of alarm activates the diagnostic process by stimulating a doctor to formulate and weigh up working hypotheses that might involve a serious outcome, Stolper said.
sense of reassurance means a physician feels secure about the further management and course of a patient's problem, even though he or she may not be certain about the diagnosis.
Our next step will be to construct and validate a questionnaire as a tool to evaluate gut feelings as well as the diagnostic work-up and the contribution of major potential determinants like experience and contextual knowledge, Stolper said in a statement.
The findings are published in the journal BMC Family Practice.