Intended for healthcare professionals


Reducing prognostic errors: a new imperative in quality healthcare

BMJ 2016; 352 doi: (Published 18 March 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;352:i1417

Diagnosis & Prognosis

Physicians treat sickness by probing the past and present (diagnosis), prescribing medicine or surgery, and predicting the future (prognosis). But sometimes physicians are wrong, because they’re so focused on esoteric scientific knowledge, that they ignore plain common sense by overlooking obvious questions, such as the patient’s contact with toxins and addictions, both of which are common causes of sickness. A wise physician knows that knowledge plus common sense is wisdom, but knowledge minus common sense is nonsense. 

Competing interests: No competing interests

18 March 2016
Hugh Mann
New York, NY, USA