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How emergency physicians use biomarkers: insights from a qualitative assessment of script concordance tests


Objectives Biomarkers have been developed in emergency medicine to improve decision at bedside using Bayesian approach. We intend to determine the cognitive process actually utilised by emergency physicians to incorporate biomarkers in clinical reasoning.

Design We invited eight emergency physicians to answer eight script concordance tests. Interviews were tape-recorded and qualitatively analysed using predetermined categories until saturation.

Results Emergency physicians mainly mobilised intuition and non-Bayesian reasoning to incorporate biomarkers for diagnosis or treatment strategies.

Conclusions Although biomarkers have been developed to be used in a Bayesian approach, emergency physicians mainly use other analytical and non-analytical cognitive processes to introduce these tools in their clinical reasoning.

  • cardiac care, diagnosis
  • infectious diseases, bacterial

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