Patients live in a complex world of decision-making. They interact with many sources of information – from their friends and family, to various media channels, to their healthcare providers – all of which influence how they think about critical healthcare goals and treatment choices. Without being medical experts themselves, many patients must chart their own path through the seas of information, coming to their own beliefs about what is true and important for their care.
While patients may think their beliefs are rational conclusions based on the information they consume, these perceptions are also influenced by instinctual shortcuts that happen below the surface of conscious thought. Known as cognitive biases, these shortcuts can influence patient beliefs and drive decision-making without them ever realizing it.