I wrote about this on another post, but to make the information more accessible in my archives, I’ve decided to repost three questions you should always ask your doctor.
- “What else can it be?”
- This will prompt the doctor to pause, think again, and extricate himself from a cognitive trap.
- Could two things be going on to explain my problem?
- Occam’s razor (”the simplest explanation is usually the best one”) is something medical students are indirectly thought to believe, and in most cases, this is the case; however, by asking this question, you force the physician to address the pitfall of “satisfaction of search” where the first diagnosis becomes the working diagnosis without ever evaluating other possibilities.
- “Is there anything in my history or physical examination or lab tests that seems to be at odds with the working diagnosis?”
- This will safeguard against “confirmation bias.” Confirmation bias occurs after the physician has an initial diagnosis. Any symptoms which do not coincide with this initial diagnosis will simply be brushed off as irrelevant rather than being further investigated.