G. Vashitz, J. S. Pliskin, Y. Parmet, Y. Kosashvili, G. Ifergane, S. Wientroub, N. Davidovitch

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


OBJECTIVES: Discrepancies in diagnosis, treatment, or prognosis may emerge among physicians. a known decision-making bias is the tendency to shift personal opinion either toward or away from a previous opinion. We sought to evaluate such biases in the context of second-opinion medical consultations. METHODS: We distributed a survey questionnaire to a nationwide sample of orthopedic surgeons and neurologists. The questionnaires presented eight scenarios, each with conventional treatment options with no clear-cut preference. In four scenarios, the physicians were told that a previous opinion had already been given by another physician, or that a second opinion will be given, and the other four scenarios were used as controls. The physi-cians’ responses were coded according to the level of intervention (conservative to interventional). RESULTS: 172 orthopedic surgeons and 160 neurologists fi lled out the questionnaires, which represent about 50% of these specialties in Israel. In the orthopedic questionnaire, when a fi rst opinion had already been given, there was a shift toward a more interventionist treatment (P < 0.05). This was especially prominent when the fi rst opinion was known to the second physician. When the patient intended to seek a second opinion, there was a shift toward a more conservative treatment. No such effect was found among neurologists. CONCLUSIONS: Physicians’ judgment may be affected by another physician’s opinion (compared to their choices without a fi rst opinion). This bias mainly tends toward a more interventionist treatment. Due to the immense impact of any decision on patient health and resource use, further research should address such biases and develop tools to address them.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)A247
JournalValue in Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 2010


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