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Br J Gen Pract. May 2002; 52(478): 395–400.
PMCID: PMC1314297
Intuition and evidence--uneasy bedfellows?
Trisha Greenhalgh
Department of Primary Care and Population Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, London.
Abstract
Intuition is a decision-making method that is used unconsciously by experienced practitioners but is inaccessible to the novice. It is rapid, subtle, contextual, and does not follow simple, cause-and-effect logic. Evidence-based medicine offers exciting opportunities_for improving patient outcomes, but the 'evidence-burdened' approach of the inexperienced, protocol-driven clinician is well documented Intuition is not unscientific. It is a highly creative process, fundamental to hypothesis generation in science. The experienced practitioner should generate and follow clinical hunches as well as (not instead of applying the deductive principles of evidence-based medicine. The educational research literature suggests that we can improve our intuitive powers through systematic critical reflection about intuitive judgements--for example, through creative writing and dialogue with professional colleagues. It is time to revive and celebrate clinical storytelling as a method for professional education and development. The stage is surely set for a new, improved--and, indeed, evidence-based--'Balint'group.
Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of
Royal College of General Practitioners