Why are Residents Reluctant to Consult Attending Physicians?

Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 09-042/1

26 Pages Posted: 14 May 2009

See all articles by Otto H. Swank

Otto H. Swank

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics; Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

Date Written: May 14, 2009

Abstract

A physician performs two tasks: making diagnoses and determining treatments. To reduce medical error, residents are supposed to consult their supervisors when they face uncommon circumstances. However, recent research shows that residents are reluctant to do so. This paper presents a model that explains (i) which residents shy away from consulting; (ii) when residents are reluctant; (iii) the importance of protocols in the medical sector; and (iv) when consulting is a sign of strength or a sign of weakness. Furthermore, I show that encouraging residents to consult by investigating mishaps leads to another distortion: residents will give too much weight to own assessments.

Keywords: Medical error, medical decision-making, reputational concerns, consulting

JEL Classification: D21, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Swank, Otto H., Why are Residents Reluctant to Consult Attending Physicians? (May 14, 2009). Tinbergen Institute Discussion Paper No. 09-042/1, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1404644 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1404644

Otto H. Swank (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

Tinbergen Institute Rotterdam (TIR)

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands
+31 10 4081448 (Phone)
+31 10 2120551 (Fax)

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