Friday, October 4, 2013

The "Happy test"....Intuition vs logic and why is it important in General Practice


One of the most important thing that I try to teach my Registrars is the "Happy test".

Ask yourself the simple question of "Am I happy with this?" can be very important reflection at the end of every consult.  This question helps to tap into the intuitive part of your decision making.  Of course, one should not base their whole clinically decision based on intuition, but can I suggest that it is an important consideration?

If you are happy with your decision and logically, it fits in with your assessment and known guidelines, then you can be confident that your decision is probably sound.  If logically it sounds right but intuitively, you are not happy with it, then can I suggest that you consider reassessing, asking for a second opinion or at least have a plan B.

Essentially the way I look at it is this.  Intuition taps into the "subconscious" awareness and experiences and it is a highly sensitive test.  However, it may not be very specific and can have a higher tendency for "false positives".

"Logic" on the other hand is highly specific in nature but not as sensitive as "intuitition" and hence has a higher tendency for "false negatives".  Hence, just like any tests, one needs both a higher specific and a higher sensitive test for a more reliable diagnosis and subsequent management.

The above concept can apply to your everyday lives as well.  Imagine that you interview a new staff for your practice.   Logicallly on paper, he or she might look good, answered all the questions correctly but for some reason, your gut feeling says that this person is not the right person for the job.  If this happens, then can I suggest that you get a second opinion or ring up the referees for more information?

Share with us your thoughts on the subject....

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