Healthcare education and medical training is critical for providing good patient care. Understanding expertise, learning, memory, cognitive skills (e.g., anatomists), and other cognitive issues can greatly benefit the use of e-learning and technology enhanced learning. For example, how best to use virtual patients, interactive videos and simulation depends on how effectively they work with the cognitive system. Making them effective gives not only value in terms of investment, but provides better outcomes in terms of patient care and safety.
Providing good and safe patient care requires highly skilled and dedicated medical staff. Correctly diagnosing and treating patients involves complex cognitive operations. These are often carried out under time pressure, distributed cognition, and within financial constraints. Cognitive issues (such as perception, interpretation, judgment, and decision making) underpin patient care and safety, therefore, a cognitive perspective can provide important insights and ways to effectively contribute to healthcare.
Understanding cognitive processes can improve quality of decisions, for example, how to manage risk, especially under time pressure when our ability to examine and compare choice alternatives is challenged. Under such conditions the decision making process is modified, and can result in ignoring some choice alternatives, selectively examining information, change of threshold for responding and more (for details, see time pressure). A cognitive approach also enables innovative strategies to reduce error, for example, how 'error recovery' training can be designed and implemented to construct most effective and salient mental representations (see, e.g., A novel approach to minimize error in the medical domain: Cognitive neuroscientific insights into training).
The cognitive perspective provides the details of how to construct effective medical training (e.g., if, when & how fidelity is important, what examples are best to use, how to control for cognitive load, ways to maximize cognitive mechanisms, etc.; for details see A cognitive perspective on technology enhanced learning in medical training), and also innovative overall approaches to providing healthcare education. When the learning fits the cognitive architecture, then not only information is effectively acquired, but it is remembered in the long term, and most importantly, it is used in clinical practice and thus has an impact.
Cognitive Consultants International (CCI-HQ) provides research, workshops and consultancy to improve medical healthcare see, for example, Northwestern University Medical School and Montreal General Hospital). CCI-HQ's work is aimed at enhancing decision making, reducing error and providing cost effective and efficient medical training.
Dr. Itiel Dror has received the 2014 ABP (Association for Business Psychology) Annual Award for 'Excellence in Training', see publications.
Selected publications and presentations on these issues: